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.
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.
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
- 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)
To make cookie portion
- 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.
- Add flour, quick cooking oats, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dough will be slightly wet. Set mixture aside to make filling.
To chocolate filling
- Place milk, chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a pan over low heat. Gently stir mixture until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat.
- Place 1/3 of cookie mixture into pan and using an offset spatula spread cookie mixture flat.
- Pour chocolate filling on top of crust and then sprinkle mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and crushed M&M Pretzel on top.
- 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).
- 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.