Back when my older daughter was a baby, I signed up to volunteer for the Big Brother Big Sister program. They matched me up with Rosie, a little girl of nine years old. Over the next nine years, we met almost every single week.
Together we cooked, traveled to West Virginia, went to plays and performances, read books, visited, scrap booked, painted pottery, butchered chickens, went for walks, etc. As she got older and her life got busier, we settled for a weekly breakfast at the local bagel shop. Now she is a young woman, a mother of two (just saying that makes me feel so old), and a nursing student.
A couple weeks ago, she brought her baby boys out to visit me. We visited while I worked in the kitchen and the boys ran circles around the table. I was making a “weird” salad—the wheat berry one.
“You know, there’s one thing I do with my boys that you taught me,” she said.
“What’s that? I asked.
“I always make them take at least one taste of everything.” And she boldly forked up a bite of salad for herself and another for the toddler.
It’s true. Whenever she turned up her nose at my weird cooking, I always had her take at least a no-thank you helping. She fussed sometimes, but for the most part she was quite good natured about my food-loving foistyness.
“I’ve been checking your blog,” Rosie continued. “There’s one recipe you still don’t have on there—the monster cookies.”
“You are so right. I really need to write about them, don’t I.”
Back in the early years of our relationship, we mixed up a batch of monster cookies. It must’ve made a monstrous (tee-hee) impression, what with the dozen eggs, three pounds of peanut butter, and 18 cups of oats, because she’s talked about those monster cookies ever since.
A couple days after her visit, Rosie posted two words on my Facebook wall: Monster cookies.
That did it. I bought the ingredients, made the cookies, and now I’m writing the recipe down here.
Rosie, this one’s for you! I love you, sweetie!
The recipe comes from my mother. When I was a kid, we mixed the dough up by hand, in a baby bathtub.
A note about the peanut butter: in this case “two cups a pound the world 'round” does not apply. This is not six cups of peanut butter. I’m not sure what the amount is in cup measurements. I simply eyeballed the jars’ ounces and then threw in a little more for good measure (pun intended).
Also, I added more Reese’s Pieces. You can add M&Ms, too, if you wish, but I think the Reese’s Pieces are better.
And about the oatmeal, I used quick oats, not instant or rolled. You can use a mix of rolled and quick (not instant), but I wouldn’t use only rolled as the cookies might turn out less soft and chewy and more crumbly. Though I don’t know that for a fact...
12 eggs, well beaten
6 cups firmly packed brown sugar
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 pound butter, melted
3 pounds peanut butter
8 teaspoons baking soda
18 cups oatmeal
1 pound chocolate chips
1 pounds Reese’s Pieces
In your largest bowl, or a very clean baby bathtub, stir together the eggs, sugars, and vanilla. Stir in the peanut butter and melted butter. Mix the baking soda with a cup or two of oatmeal and stir that in. Add the remaining oatmeal and mix well. Add the candy pieces and stir to combine.
Shape the dough into ping-pong-sized balls, plum-sized balls, or even—heaven help us—tennis ball-sized balls!, and place on greased cookie sheets. Flatten the dough with your fingers and tuck in the ragged edges. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees until they are slightly golden around the edges and still puffy, tender, and a bit wet in the middle. Once out of the oven, allow them to firm up on the cookie sheets for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Eat the cookies warm, with a tall glass of cold milk alongside.
Both the baked cookies and the cookie dough freeze well.
This same time, years previous: Thanksgiving of 2011, Thanksgiving of 2010, Swiss chard and sweet potato gratin, pumpkin pie