the best monster cookies

Rich, fun, extra-chewy and naturally gluten-free (if you make sure your oats are not cross-contaminated!), these Monster Cookies are absolutely the best I’ve ever made.  And I have made a lot of Monster Cookies in my time!

The BEST (naturally gluten free!) Monster Cookies!  | Sweet Anna's

I have been baking and tweaking this recipe for years.  It was my grandma’s recipe handed down to my mom and then me, and as you all know – I just can’t help but tinker.  (smile)

Now, I’m absolutely not saying there was anything wrong with the original recipe, but there is always room for improvement and I think I have found a few little tricks to make these even better.  If you’ve ever made Monster Cookies before and thought “these didn’t turn out like I expected”, then this recipe is for you!!

The BEST (naturally gluten free!) Monster Cookies!  | Sweet Anna's

I have included cup measurements, but I have left a few of the original weight measurements also for those of you who use a kitchen scale…  (If you don’t I suggest trying it.  I just love the ease of resetting the scale and adding to one bowl, without dirtying a bunch of dishes!)

You can make these big or small, just adjust the time accordingly and watch carefully to make sure they don’t get overdone.  You just want the edges to be golden so they are not dry.  These cookies are better under-baked then overdone!

The BEST (naturally gluten free!) Monster Cookies!  | Sweet Anna's

Oh, and I just have to share the show-my-insides cookie tip with you guys!  (You may have seen this already, I posted it on Instagram a few weeks ago!)

Scoop out the cookie dough (balls twice as big as you want in the end) closely onto a cookie sheet and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.  When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven and then take each cookie dough ball and break it in half like you are cracking open an egg and place the halves craggily-insides-up onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.  When the cookies bake, they will be nice and chewy and all the yummy insides (chocolate chips, m&ms, etc!) will be showing, instead of hiding inside!

 

the best monster cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups (1lb) creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups (1lb) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 9 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 cups m&ms, divided (1 1/2 cups + 1 cup)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla & baking soda until well blended.
  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, except 1 cup of the m&ms, until just blended together. (You can transfer this to a very large bowl and mix with your clean hands if your mixer isn't big enough to handle the load!)
  3. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350ºF and line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Scoop the dough onto the parchment lined cookie sheets, and flatten with a fork dipped in water. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are just set and light golden brown around the edges.
  5. Store these (all cookies, really!) in the freezer for the best results. If they don't all disappear the first day, that is! :o)
http://sweetannas.com/2015/11/the-best-monster-cookies.html

The BEST (naturally gluten free!) Monster Cookies!  | Sweet Anna's

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee

Yep, I said Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee.  Coffee Toffee…  Say that 10 times fast!  This sweet almond-roca-ish treat is easy to make, and more importantly – easy on the teeth!  (We all know, not all toffees can make that claim!)

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee | Sweet Anna's

All you need is a good pot, a cheap candy thermometer, and a whisk.  Easy, peasy!

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee | Sweet Anna's

If you really want to spoil someone you love this holiday season, this is the treat to make.  The hint of coffee and maple syrup are just out of this world in the sweet/salty toffee base, and chocolate and toasted almonds round out the topping!

You all know my love of Starbucks VIA instant coffee packets for baking (you remember this ice cream recipe from this summer, right?) and this toffee recipe is no disappointment.  Even if you don’t use them for anything else (I don’t drink them!) grab a box at the store and keep them on hand for baking.  Add them to brownie batter, cookie dough, ice cream, etc. and you will learn to love their versatility as much as I do!

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee | Sweet Anna's

I am a big fan of homemade Christmas gifts.  Now, if I was handy enough, I would probably do all homemade gifts.  But all I do is bake, so my usual MO is to add baked goods, treats, homemade vanilla, etc. to the Christmas presents we give.  A little homemade love + a little store-bought token = a perfectly well-rounded gift, in my opinion!

(Hint: It’s not too late to make Homemade Vanilla Extract for your friends/family this Christmas.  It’s such a fun, unique gift…  And about the easiest thing in the world to make!)

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee | Sweet Anna's

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pouch Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled**

Instructions

  1. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. In a medium-large heavy pot with a candy thermometer clipped to the side, dump in the butter, sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt and instant coffee*. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer registers 250ºF.
  3. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the caramel reaches 290-300ºF.
  4. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the vanilla extract and then the baking soda. Pour onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle the top evenly with the chocolate chips.
  5. Let the chocolate chips sit for about 3-4 minutes, until they are all soft and shiny, and then spread the melted chocolate gently with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Sprinkle the top with the toasted almonds. Let cool completely (in the fridge if your kitchen is too warm!) before breaking into bite-sized pieces and storing in an airtight container!
  6. *If you don't have any Starbucks VIA pouches, you can use regular instant espresso. I just hate buying that little jar and knowing how stale it was every time I wanted to use it!
http://sweetannas.com/2015/11/salted-caramel-coffee-toffee.html

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee | Sweet Anna's

recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen!

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies

Chewy, moist, lightly-spiced, gluten free molasses cookies…  These cookies have all the comfort of your favorite family recipe with a fun secret ingredient and without the gluten (but you’d never know!).

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies | Sweet Anna's

Here we go again!  Another gluten-free recipe conversion.  Now, I am definitely not going to be an exclusively gluten-free blog, but for now I have a child who can’t have gluten and that means you will be seeing several new recipes here and there.

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies | Sweet Anna's

Sometimes I get so down about this whole gluten free thing.  I hate seeing Bjørn’s hurt and longing for things he used to have (we have yet to find a decent gluten free bagel or donut – tips appreciated!), and the extra brain-power involved is just plain exhausting.

I long for the days of easy food choices and grabbing anything handy to feed my kids, but that is just not our life anymore, and it’s time for me to to put on my big girl pants and get over myself!

Yes, this is hard.  But my love for him is huge, and every gluten free thing I make is a physical act of love for him.  And my goodness, you should see his joy when I can answer “Yes!” to his never ending “Is this gluten free?” question!

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies | Sweet Anna's

These cookies were a no-brainer to put on top of the list of recipes to convert, because it’s a family favorite around here.  My grandma’s original Molasses Crinkles Cookie recipe (which is in my cookbook – releasing in June!) is one of our must-haves in the fall, especially on the Christmas table.  (And every time I get a craving during the holiday season!)

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies | Sweet Anna's

The blackstrap molasses in these cookies makes them a bit healthier than the originals, and a few delicious essential oils are the perfect compliment to the warm richness of the dough.

Trust me, you won’t notice anything is missing, and you will love these as much as our family does!

 

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 3 drops clove Young Living essential oil**
  • 2 drops ginger Young Living essential oil**
  • 1 drop cinnamon bark Young Living essential oil**
  • 4 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. *I use Namaste brand Gluten Free Organic Perfect Flour Blend. As with all gluten-free recipes, your recipe may turn out differently with a different brand of gf flour!
  2. **PLEASE don't use just any brand of essential oils. Not all brands are safe for internal consumption, Young Living is the only brand I trust for my family! (Email me if you want to chat!) And of course, if you don't have essential oils right now, feel free to use 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in place of the oils!
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, coconut oil and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in the egg, molasses and essential oils until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour blend, salt and baking soda and then add the mixture carefully into the mixing bowl and mix until just well combined.
  4. Cover and place the dough into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes, or overnight. When you are ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper and scoop the dough out (with a small scoop) about 2-3 inches apart.
  5. Press the dough down gently with a fork dipped in cold water, and then sprinkle each pressed cookie with sugar. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until just set and no longer wet looking in the middle.
  6. Let cool on the baking sheets and then transfer to an airtight container to store in the freezer!
http://sweetannas.com/2015/11/gluten-free-chewy-molasses-cookies.html

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies | Sweet Anna's