One of my favorite treats is classic chewy Monster cookies. Try this Monster Cookie Recipe for Halloween, parties, or just as a fun treat!
If you aren't familiar with cookies by this name, they are gooey peanut butter cookies made with oats. You can use old-fashioned oats or quick oats, and you can add chocolate chips or peanut butter chips. It's an “anything goes” recipe, so you will see many versions of Monster Cookies, depending on the occasion!
My favorite version is a flourless cookie so it is gluten free if you make sure your oats are gluten free. But if you want a cookie to take to school, a bake sale or the soccer game and you need a recipe safe for those with a peanut allergy you are going to want to try this monster cookie recipe without peanut butter. See note in recipe for substitutions.
Occasions for Monster Cookies
I love to have a lot of simple recipes on hand for family get togethers, church potlucks or just those cool fall days when you want to bake a tasty treat! While these are great for fall and Halloween, they are also a fun addition to any monster themed party year around!
I have a recipe for flourless cookies that only calls for four ingredients including natural peanut butter and the only dry ingredients you need is a cup of white sugar, but this one is an easy recipe for when I don’t know who all will be eating them. Food allergies are serious business so I like to have some go to recipes to try that are safe for most people. This one does use egg and dairy, so make sure you are mindful of folks with those allergies, sometimes at the bake sale you just need to label them so folks know. Give these delicious cookies a try.
What is a substitute for peanut butter in a cookie recipe?
Part of what makes Monster cookies so amazing is how chewy and creamy their texture is! That's usually due to the peanut butter, but it may be necessary to make these peanut-free. You can substitute almond butter or sunflower seed butter such as Wow Butter. I've used Wow Butter in several recipes and although it does not have the taste of peanut butter, it does have a similar texture to store-bought peanut butter. In this case, the recipe can be made totally nut-free by using cream cheese!
Love the flavor of crunchy peanut butter in Monster cookies but the cream cheese is going to give you a similar texture not flavor, you just can’t get that flavor with anything but real peanut butter.
Why are my Monster Cookies falling apart?
Sometimes when you are baking you have to follow the recipe exactly and must use butter when it calls for butter, do not substitute shortening. If you are supposed to use sifted flour and you have packed your flour your cookies will fall apart, the same goes for measuring sugar. When you read a recipe and it calls for packed brown sugar you need to make sure you are packing it in your measuring cup for an accurate measurement.
How to Make:
To make this delicious Monster Cookie Recipe, first start by gathering your ingredients. You will need:
- Cream Cheese at room temperature
- One large egg
- Food coloring (we used three colors)
- One 9×13 size Vanilla Cake Mix
- Vanilla (optional)
- A small amount of Powdered Sugar for rolling the cookies in- about 3 oz.
- Candy Eyes
- Optional Sprinkles, Colorful Candy Sugar, or White Chocolate Chips for decoration
I really think you will love these chewy cookies. For best results you want to make sure to let your cream cheese and butter get to room temperature so your dough will blend well. It's difficult to microwave cream cheese to get it evenly softened, but if you have to, cover and soften on low heat, stirring often.
In a large bowl combine wet ingredients: Whisk butter, vanilla, egg and cheese until well blended. You will then add your cake mix and blend. It will be a thicker dough, so if you want to use a stand mixer go ahead.
After the dough has an even consistency and all the ingredients are incorporated, divide into three parts. You can divide into separate smaller mixing bowls if needed. You will add food coloring to each and blend again, so another option is just setting aside your dough sections and blending the coloring in, using your stand mixer. I prefer this method since kneading the dough can get time consuming –and tiring!
Bake and Decorate:
Finally, roll your colorful dough into balls and roll into the powdered sugar. Press just slightly and place on your lined baking sheet a few inches part. You will bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly set. Make sure to check them after 8-10 minutes as oven temperatures can vary and you don't want to burn these. They should not bake until crispy! This Monster Cookie Recipe is meant to have a chewy and soft cookie result.
While the cookies are still warm decorate them with candy pieces to make the monster eyes, or decorate as you wish. This is the fun part for the kids, so be sure to let them decorate the cookies if you can! Place on a wire rack or cooling rack to cool completely.
Store these in an air-tight container, that is if you have any leftovers or you bake ahead. These are best fresh so don’t make them too far in advance.
Trouble-shooting- Can you over mix cookie dough?
Make sure you only mix enough to combine all of your ingredients. When you mix more than that you are adding air into your dough, and also develop the gluten in the flour (in the cake mix). This can prevent it from rising and also make them overly chewy!
You want to combine well, but then stop. Make sure when you are baking you read through your recipe instructions since how much you mix a dough can make a big difference in the texture you end up with. Pie crusts and buttermilk biscuits are some of the baked goods that are most sensitive to overmixing.
Great Bake Sale Recipe!
What is your go to recipe for bake sales? Are you the cupcake mom, or do you go for chocolate chip cookies? I love to make things that I think no one else is bringing. Some moms make the best chocolate chip cookies and you always end up with plenty of those, so I try to think about what might be missing. Is it something gluten-free? I can make the flourless monster cookies, but sometimes you get that note that says “do not send snacks with nuts” so we want to be mindful of folks with no allergies. Do your kids have a favorite cookie recipe of yours? Sometimes I find kids have different favorites from the adults. I really think this Monster Cookie Recipe will be a hit with everyone though.
If you are a fan of the traditional Monster cookies that are peanut butter oatmeal cookies let us know if you give this version a try and what you think. They will have a different flavor of course without the regular creamy peanut butter but we do think this is a yummy option when you need a nut free cookie that will be a hit wherever you take your baked goods. If your family loves fresh baked cookies as much as mine does I am sure this will be a great addition to your recipe file. Do you prefer the original giant Monster cookies or are you ready to try this Monster cookie recipe without peanut butter?
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 Egg
- Vanilla Cake mix, 1 box (9x13 size)
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 3 Tablespoons Powdered sugar
- Optional- Candies like mini M&M chocolate candies, or white chocolate chips for decorating.
- Candy Eyes
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Use parchment paper to line a cookie sheet. Soften butter and cream cheese to room temperature.
In a large bowl or stand mixer combine wet ingredients- Whisk butter, vanilla, egg and cheese until well blended.
Add the cake mix to the mixing bowl and combine. Knead the dough using paddle attachment to stand mixer or knead by hand.
Divide into several parts and add food coloring to make different colors. You can mix food coloring into each dough section in the stand mixer, one at a time.
Roll the dough into balls, using 2-3 tablespoon size scoops.
Roll each dough ball generously in powdered sugar, and line up on cookie tray. Press down very slightly in the middle.
Place on your lined baking sheet a few inches part. Cookies will spread out as they bake.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove from oven when they are soft set and allow to remain on the cookie tray for around 2-3 minutes or until set.
Place on cooling rack. While they are still warm, add sprinkles, candy eyes and other decorations.
Cooking note- Make sure to check these after 8-10 minutes as oven temperatures can vary and you don't want to burn these. Bake until golden brown around the edges and soft set in the middle. Do not cook until fully crispy.
Amount Per Serving Calories 178Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 28mgSodium 225mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 0gSugar 13gProtein 2g