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These Candy Bar Monster Cookies are packed with oats, peanut butter, and chocolate candy for a fun twist on the fan-favorite cookie using leftover holiday candy. These cookies, while still a sweet treat, are a healthier take on the traditional monster cookie and are gluten-free, dairy-free and made with natural sweeteners.
Gluten-Free Monster Cookies
If you’ve never had a monster cookie before, allow me to persuade you that you absolutely need to remedy that. Monster cookies are thick and chewy cookies made primarily from peanut butter and oats, often studded with milk chocolate candies (aka M&Ms) and chocolate chips. If you are wondering what makes them so special, then you were like me before I tried them. But truly, monster cookies are much greater than the sum of their parts. They are a crazy delicious cookie that is decadent and addicting. And my version? Well, instead of using chocolate chips in the dough, I add chopped up leftover candy (from Halloween or any that you have hanging around the house) to turn them into Candy Bar Monster Cookies.
And if all of that isn’t persuading you, I’m also here to say that my version is just a little bit healthier. I know, I know…they’re still decidedly in the dessert category. But my recipe doesn’t add any flour to the cookie, and uses quite a bit less sugar (in the form of maple syrup) than some of the traditional recipes. So while we made it just a bit more nutrient dense, it’s still a ridiculously delicious cookie everyone is going to love.
What are Monster Cookies?
Where the name Monster Cookies came from is a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve googled it and many people have different answers, but what seems to be the consensus is that this cookie is a bit of a Frankenstien mash-up of different types of cookies all rolled into one. Thus making it a monster cookie. A monster cookie is part oatmeal cookie, part peanut butter cookie, part chocolate chip and M&M cookie all rolled into one. And of course, my version goes one step further by adding in chopped leftover candy bars which just makes it that much better.
Ingredients Needed to Make Monster Cookies
- Quick Cooking Oats (see note below)
- Peanut Butter
- Coconut Oil
- Maple Syrup
- No-Sugar Added Peanut Butter (see note below)
- Vanilla Extract
- Baking Soda
- Hard-Shelled Chocolate Candies (we buy these)
- Leftover Candy (we love these)
Coconut Oil: You can swap this with equal parts melted butter. Also a quick tip but if you are looking to avoid the coconut flavor, buy the refined coconut oil: it’s tasteless.
Maple Syrup: Technically you could use honey in this recipe, but it would result in a strong honey flavor and it would make the cookie brown faster. You cannot swap this out for another sweetener such as regular sugar as the cookie will be too dry.
Leftover Candy: Don’t have or want to use candy? Swap it out with chocolate chips.
Hard-Shelled Candies: Don’t skip these! It’s really what makes this cookie awesome.
Peanut Butter: You can swap this with almond butter or another nut butter if you want, but make sure it is a natural no-sugar added nut butter. See below for the reasons why.
What Type of Peanut Butter to Use
The type of peanut butter that you use here is very important. It will affect the final outcome of the cookie. Use a no-sugar added natural peanut butter that is drippy. This means a peanut butter that you have to stir the oil into when you first open it.
This type of peanut butter is essential for three reasons: it ensures the proper amount of fat in the cookie, it helps the cookie spread and it makes sure the cookie isn’t overly sweet.
If you use a different type of peanut butter other than a no-sugar added drippy natural peanut butter we can’t promise the same results.
What Type of Oats to Use
This cookie doesn’t have any added flour to the recipe, so it’s essential to use quick cooking oats here. The quick cooking oats (as opposed to rolled oats or steel cut oats) help get just the right texture and chew for this cookie.
How to Make Them
You know we love a good (nearly 1-bowl recipe), especially when it comes to our baked goods and cookies. This recipe is nearly one bowl recipe because you need to melt the coconut oil which will require a pot or a bowl.
To make this recipe, you will simply:
- Whisk together the wet ingredients.
- Stir in the dry.
- Stir in the m&ms and chopped candy bars of choice.
- Let the cookie dough rest for 15 minutes to hydrate.
They are very delicate while they are hot, so don’t try to lift them (or eat them) off the pan until they have cooled off a bit.
Tips for Making Perfectly Round Cookies
As I mentioned above, these cookies are really delicate and soft once they come out of the oven. This is bad if you are one of those people who want to grab a cookie hot out of the oven and eat it (because it won’t stay together) but it’s good if you want to reshape any irregular looking cookies!
Because these cookies have different types of chopped candy bars in them, they sometimes bake up in uneven shapes. While this does not at all affect the taste, you can reshape the cookies right after they come out of the oven into a more circular shape if you want. To do this, take a dull knife and gently push the edges of the cookies back into a circle.
Storing Monster Cookies
These cookies can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. They also keep in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Or they can be frozen fully baked for up to 2 months. We recommend you bake the cookies before freezing, as the dough doesn’t keep as well in the freezer as the baked cookies do.
When ready to eat the frozen cookies simply defrost at room temperature for about an hour.
If you like this cookie recipe, check out these others:
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- 3-Ingredient Almond Butter Cookies
- Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Watch the video:
Candy Bar Monster Cookies (Gluten-Free)
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup no-added sugar natural drippy peanut butter see note
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups quick cooking oats
- ½ cup hard shelled chocolate candies
- 1/2 cup chopped leftover candy bars or chocolate chips
- Pre-heat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add coconut oil, maple syrup, peanut butter, egg and vanilla extract to a bowl and whisk together until fully combined. Stir in the baking soda, oats, chocolate candies and chopped candy bars.
- Let the batter sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.
- Scoop the dough into balls about ¼ cup in size and place on a baking sheet about 1-1/2” apart.
- Bake in the preheated oven in the middle rack for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies have spread and the tops are set.
- Remove from the oven, and if desired, while still hot, using a dull knife gently push any misshapen cookies into a circular shape (see note).
- Let the cookies sit on the hot tray for at least 15 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack to finish setting up. They are very delicate while they are hot.
- Cookies will keep well covered at room temperature for several days.