Monster Cookies

So guys. If you're ever in the market for what to gift someone who does something epic for you--say, take your child off your hands for two nights so that you and your husband can go up to Napa for the weekend, do some socially acceptable binge drinking under the guise of "wine tasting", and not have to pack a dozen ever-loving sippy cups (it was lovely, by the way, thank you)--then I have a suggestion for you.

Give Monster Cookies. These Monster Cookies, specifically. Actually, maybe have a nice bottle of wine on hand as a backup. Because unless you can bake these Monster Cookies and give them away in record time, they likely will make it into your face before you can gift them. With a mise en place like this, you'll probably guess you're totally in for it.

Oats. Chocolate chips. Peanut butter (the good, junky supermarket kind). And...wait for it...REESE'S PIECES. Because I am a peanut butter freak and swapped out the M&Ms for more peanut butter in a crunchy candy shell. Can't say I was wrong with that call, people. Not for a second.

As with all recipes with which I become completely obsessed, there's a twist here. These aren't your typical mix-up-the-dough-plop-it-and-go (hey, rhyme!) kind of cookie. The magic happens with an excrutiating five hour rest of the dough in the refrigerator, during which the dough firms up and the oats become tender and plump with peanut buttery bliss. There's no other way to get there than with lots of patience and having someone you trust chain you to something heavy.

The other thing I found totally fascinating and am now finding a way to work it into a bunch of the recipes in my regular rotation is the tiniest dab of corn syrup in the dough. With just 1/4 teaspoon in the mix you may be tempted to skip it, but the headnote warns you not to, and because I will do pretty much whatever those Baked boys tell me to, I listened. And though they don't say why it's so vital, I'll venture a guess and say that the tiny bit of corn syrup here supports the irresistibly chewy quality of this cookie (like, days after they are baked) and really helps with the browning of this cookie which is largely composed of peanut butter and oatmeal, two ingredients that don't brown all that well unless you burn 'em, which would be undelicious. But these bake up so beautifully golden, you might just shed a tear.

You may try to give all these cookies away to a deserving party. You may try to have just one with a short glass of milk. But you will be depriving yourself the beauty of such a go-big-or-go-home cookie. My advice, because I care about you: save at least a half dozen for yourself, eat them two-by-two and go for the biggest milk glass you've got. You're welcome.

Monster Cookies
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

Now. The original recipe uses these amounts for a 3 dozen cookie yield, and that's got to be a typo. I got 3 dozen when I halved the recipe (lightly beat one egg and measure out half for half an egg) and I even used the 2-tablespoon size scoop suggested in the recipe, so who knows? I'm calling it a cool 6 dozen with these amounts below.

Also, most monster cookie recipes use M&Ms, but like I said, I used Reese's Pieces and am never going back. The result was fantastic.

Makes 6 dozen cookies

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups creamy peanut butter (I like Skippy or Jif for baking)
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (6 ounces) Reese's Pieces

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and oats until well-blended.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth and pale in color, at least 2 minutes. Beat in the sugars on low speed until just incorporated.

Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and beat just until combined. Add the peanut butter and beat on low just until smooth. Add the dry ingredients on low speed in three additions until the dough is well-blended. Fold in the chocolate chips and Reese's Pieces by hand. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

When you're ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Scoop the dough into 2-tablespoon size balls using a small ice cream scoop, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies just begin to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. Cool on the pans for 8 to 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

CookiesShauna Sever