Monster Cookie Bars

So the more popular version of this is a monster cookie, but I really love this as a cookie bar since it gives way to more textures. I kept most of the monster cookie components with the oatmeal, chocolate, peanut butter and candy. But here’s where I deviated, aside from making them a monster cookie bar, I went for a more sweet and salty combo.

Monster Cookie Bars

For the candy proportion I used Pretzel M&Ms and I traded the peanut butter spread for some mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that I stuffed into a soft chocolate center. Framing the soft chocolate filling is a chewy chocolate chip oatmeal cookie that also contains crushed sea salt almonds and more crushed Pretzel M&Ms. The bottom framing is the same cookie mixture but as a crunchy crust. And that is what I mean when I say the cookie bar version allows for more layered textures.

It sounds like a kitchen sink cookie bar, doesn’t it? It sort of is, the only thing I didn’t throw in there that I had in the cupboard were some potato chips and toffee bits. But you can probably bet that those two things will probably end up in the next version.

For now I showed a small measure of self-restraint – this doesn’t happen often, but I wanted the bars to have a balance of sweet and salty without any one thing overpowering another.

A few notes:

  • Don’t skip the browning the butter, it adds a nutty-toffee like flavor to the cookie portion that regular melted butter cannot add alone.
  • This recipe is highly adaptable, so if you want a stronger peanut butter flavor just add a ¼ cup of creamy butter to the chocolate filling and omit or keep the chopped mini Reese’s cups.
  • Of course skip the sea salted almonds if it’s not your thing, but I love the salty and nutty element it adds to this recipe.
  • If you don’t have pretzel M&Ms, try crushed pretzels to keep the sweet and salty combo.
  • To skip the salty portion of this cookie bar, omit the almonds and replace the pretzel M&Ms for regular M&Ms.
  • For the chocolate filling portion I used a dark chocolate to lessen the sweetness, but your palate your preference-use a chocolate you prefer semi-sweet or dark.
  • I prefer an 8x8x2 pan to make this recipe for a taller cookie bar, but a 9×13 pan will work just as well.

Monster Cookie Bar

Makes an 8×8 pan or a 9×13 pan (see notes). | Preparation: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Create a foil sling by placing foil into the pan with a one inch overhang on each side (this makes for easy removal and cutting). Alternately, cover pan with bake spray.

Ingredients:

Cookie portion (crust and topping)

  • 1 cup of butter, melted and browned
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 cups M&M Pretzel, crushed (approximately one 2.83 oz bag)
  • ½ cup sea salt almonds, chopped

Chocolate filling

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 14 oz. chocolate (semi-sweet or dark)
  • 7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (about one 8oz. bag)
  • 2 cups M&M Pretzels (about one 2.83 oz., 2 serving bag)

Instructions:

To make cookie portion

  1. Place butter in a saucepan over medium heat and melt until butter bubbles at the edge and becomes slightly brown and nutty in aroma. Set aside to cool.
  2. Add flour, quick cooking oats, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Place brown sugar and cooled butter into a mixer bowl and beat until well blended. Add eggs in and beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes on medium high.
  4. Turn mixer to low and slow add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Turn mixer off and fold in mini chocolate chips, crushed M&M pretzels and salted almonds.
  5. Dough will be slightly wet. Set mixture aside to make filling.

To chocolate filling

  1. Place milk, chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a pan over low heat. Gently stir mixture until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat.

To assemble

  1. Place 1/3 of cookie mixture into pan and using an offset spatula spread cookie mixture flat.
  2. Pour chocolate filling on top of crust and then sprinkle mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and crushed M&M Pretzel on top.
  3. Crumble remaining cookie mixture over chocolate filling (don’t worry if some of it sinks into the filling, it will rise to the top once baked).
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown for an 8×8 pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown for for a 9×13 pan. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh my Naomi! My kids would love these (and me too!). They get out of school in a couple of weeks and this would make for a special end of year treat. If I can wait that long!

    Reply

  2. Kelly says

    2 questions…which is it 2 cups m&ms or 2.83 oz…BIG difference! And, for the filling, 14 oz. of chocolate? Is that really what you used? That is a TON of chocolate. I love chocolate, but I don’t think even I can handle that much!!

    Reply

    • Naomi replied: — May 20th, 2012 @ 7:57 am

      Hi Kelly- The recipe is written as such since not everyone has a scale and the 2.83 oz measured out in volume is about 2 cups. The odd weight is actually the size of a two serving bag. As for the chocolate, yes it’s a ton, but feel free to drop it to 10 oz. My suggestion is if you do, I would drop the milk to by 1/3 cup and to lessen the sweetness drop the sweetened condensed milk by to 5oz.

      If you do give it a go with these changes, come back and let the rest of us know how it turns out. Thanks!

      Reply

  3. Shannon says

    These bars look amazing, so I’m making them to bring to Family Dinner. Currently have these bars baking in the oven.

    Subtitutions I made:

    Cut M&M amount in Half, and used Smarties (Canadian candy coated chocolate) and used crushed pretzels for the other half.

    Instead of almonds used crushed Peanuts.

    Thoughts so far:

    I saw someone comment above that they find making cookies a “pain”. These are definately more labor intensive then regular old cookies. It probably took me an hour to prepare these cookies before baking them.

    My cookie mixture was not wet at all, but leaning more towards dry.

    An 8×8 pan is not big enough once I poored in the chocolate mixture it was almost to the top, and after adding more candy/pretzels, then adding the rest of the cookie topping the chocolate mixture was overflowing. So I put it all on a rimmed cookie sheet incase there was more overflow.

    I will update with my thoughts on the final product after they have been throughly tasted.

    Thanks for the Recipe!

    Reply

  4. Amanda says

    These took a while to put together but are really tasty. I can’t imagine using all the chocolate mixture I only used half. I also only put in half the brown sugar, I figured with all the candy being used it did not need much and I was right. My daughter had a blast making them we put in crushed chocolate covered pretzels, coconut,M&M with peanuts (crushed)cut up MilkyWay candy bars, and a cup of peanut butter. Yum we are still waiting for them to cool completly might have to put in the fridge seems too crumbly but nothing a spoon can’t fix :)

    Reply

  5. Amanda says

    I forgot to add we also put in Marshmellows. It firmed up in the fridge perfectly. Will see how it does in the freezer so we don’t eat it all up in a week

    Reply

  6. Chantel says

    I know this post is old but I wanted to add that I made these just before the birth of my son last year (I was borderline diabetic so couldn’t eat any sugar for months…the agony!) and stored them in the freezer. Once I had him I would take a couple pieces out every night after our newborn went to sleep and my husband and I would eat these in bed. They were a bright moment in a rather off sleep deprived, crazy time! This is an awesome recipe and rates very high in my books. I absolutely loves these and now, as tradition, I plan on making them for our little boys first birthday! Thanks for another great recipe Naomi!

    Reply

    • Naomi Robinson replied: — July 30th, 2013 @ 8:17 am

      Chantel – Wow,so great to hear! That absolutely made my day! Thank you!!

      Reply

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