Friday, November 5, 2010

Skinny Monster Cookies

Sometimes, you just get a craving for a simple home baked cookie.  One without fuss and that will please your friends and family that are coming to visit for the weekend.  Monster Cookies fit the bill exactly.  The traditional Monster Cookie recipe calls for peanut butter, no flour, and an insane amount of refined sugar and butter.  I dug around on the blogosphere and through Google trying to find a recipe I could modify.  Although I was willing to buy M&M's and make a delicious American cookie...I was not willing to consume extra calories unnecessarily!

I have tried altering cookie recipes and I have found my limit on what I'm willing to compromise while still keeping the integrity of the cookie intact.  I believe cookies are a treat (it took a lot of experimenting with really bad healthy cookies to realize that...).  Cookies should not contain applesauce...they turn out with a weird texture...they should not contain water...again with the weird texture.  They need enough fat so that they are not big blobs of unappetizing puffy dough!

They don't have to be laden with butter, eggs, and sugar, in fact I really enjoy making vegan cookies, but they must be held to a high cookie standard!  I like my cookies to spread in the oven.  I like them a bit fluffy and a bit chewy.  I have modified a chocolate chip pecan cookie recipe that turns out quite well and the secret ended up being in using milk.  I also like using flaxseed + water to replace an egg or all eggs.  It is a great egg replacer in cookies because it is very hard to taste.  I knew I wanted a delicious authentic cookie, but one that I wouldn't feel guilty eating.  Cookies are an important part of life!

My husband's grandmother and mother used to make a Kitchen Sink/Monster Cookie recipe.  He's a huge fan of the "fresh out of the oven" chocolate chip pecan cookies.  Recipes vary from across the nation.  The undisputed must-have ingredients include M&Ms, peanut butter, and oats.  I jazzed it up a bit, reduced some sugar and fat, utilized what I had on hand...and wallah, instant satisfaction.

Meet the Skinny Monster Cookie!  This recipe is based off of a combination of the recipe from The Pioneer Woman and from Diet Recipes Blog.  It will most assuredly satisfy your chewy, gooey, chocolatey - and yet fiber filled and semi-healthy (I'm fairly certain flax seed and whole wheat flour automatically cancel out butter and sugar), craving!  It will also win you friends and influence people, especially if those people are of the male college student variety, which is precisely the category my weekend visitors fall into.  Enjoy!

(makes about 27 cookies)

1 cup of M&Ms (Sunspire Drops are a great alternative, but too expensive for those who don't care!)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar (I used crystallized cane sugar)
1/2 cup of brown sugar (scant)
1/2 cup of almond butter (peanut butter is more traditional!)
4 T butter, room temperature (let it set for at least 30 mins prior to mixing)
1 cup of rolled oats
1/4 cup dried coconut (I use unsweetened)
1 egg
1 T ground flaxseed mixed with 3 T water (let stand 5 mins)
1 t Karo corn syrup (I have a bottle left over from last year's candy making, you could easily use agave syrup instead!)
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3/4 c whole wheat flour (traditional Monster cookies do not have flour, but I think that's just a sugar overload waiting to happen).

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Cream the butter and sugars.  Add in the egg and flaxseed/water mixture.  Add in the almond butter, oats, corn syrup, M&Ms, coconut, baking soda, and salt.  Combine using a low speed mixer or some heavy duty spoon work!  Mix in the flour.  Drop by tablespoonful onto a baking sheet - leave about 1/2" between cookies to allow for spread.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Take the sheet out of the oven and let it sit for 2-5 minutes before you remove the cookies to your drying rack!  If you try to remove them immediately, they will crumble.  This is important with a lot of soft and chewy cookie varieties.  Bake all of the batter until finished.  Be sure to lick the spoon and perhaps the bowl.  After all, it is almond butter and must be good for you with all that fiber and beneficial protein and omega-3's!

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