So our vacation was nice. Different than I had expected (probably because it rained a good deal), but still very nice. First of all, we survived. Which is saying something considering that past family vacations have included driving through a blizzard, being locked out of our condo and having to stay in a hotel for the night during said blizzard, and also getting our sailboat stuck on a sandbar and having to be rescued by the coast guard (obviously not in a blizzard).
On this particular trip we did have car trouble in the middle of no where Alabama. And we did have to take my brother to the hospital with a massive splinter in his foot. And on the way home our carrier did fall off the top of the car onto the highway in the middle of a rainstorm. But in general, we managed to avoid disaster, or at least as much as my family possibly can on vacation.
The vacation gave us an opportunity to step away from regular life for a bit, and it gave me a lot of time to reflect about how I spend my time every day and whether or not I’m doing the things that are important to me. And really, the only way that this relates here is that, since I obviously stepped away from this blog for a little over a week, it gave me some time to think about what I’m doing here. And mostly how I’ve let it become a chore that I never wanted it to be. I’ve realized over the past few weeks that I’ve worried more than necessary about getting content up here. When I make my menu and grocery list for every week I’m always searching through my list of recipes to try to find what new thing I can make this week, not necessarily because I want to make something new but because I want something to share here. And y’all, that is never ever how I wanted this to end up.
So here is what I want to promise to you. I want to start making food because I love it, and not because I’m looking for something new to post. I want to make recipes because the thought of them inspires me and makes my mouth water, not just because I think, “Well, I suppose that will do for this week.” Not everything in the past weeks or months have been this way, but to be honest a bit of it has.
And that is what I’ve always wanted to be with y’all. Honest. And recently I’ve felt that slipping away. And I want to get that back. This may mean that posting frequency will slow down a bit (and really it already has in recent months). I’m fine with that as long as it’s making me more honest and caring about the food I’m making. Because I want you to get the sense that I care about every thing I post here.
So, that being said, let’s move on to some cookies. Monster cookies actually. Although technically speaking I think these are mini-monster cookies, because monstrous in size they are not. They do, however, contain just about every good part of my favorite cookies all in one bite: peanut butter, chocolate, oatmeal. I think it’s also a bonus to add some peanut butter chips in for good measure, or whatever piece of baking candy/chocolate/etc. you think might fit well. I think I first had these cookies on a lake vacation years and years ago, and since then they have become some of my family’s favorite cookies to make. And so, appropriately, this is one of the dessert items I made for our beach vacation.
And interesting note about baking soda that I learned when making these. It is important (obviously), but perhaps not for the obvious reason. I always think of baking soda as something that helps things to rise. But in the case of these cookies, the baking soda actually helps the cookies to spread out. I know this because the first couple of batches I baked this time stayed almost in their perfectly rolled little shapes, just puffing up a bit and then staying there without the weight to spread back down to the bottom of the pan. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, and then I realized I had left out the baking soda. As soon as I added some in to my bowl of cookie dough, the cookies started behaving exactly as they should, and we were all very happy. (Well, mostly me. Even the non-baking soda cookies taste delicious. I just thought for a few moments that I had lost the monster cookie touch).
adapted from various sources
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes (per batch)
Makes 4 to 5 dozen
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup M&Ms
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, and butter, beating until mixture is soft and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix to incorporate. Then mix in the baking soda and vanilla.
3. Add the oats, a little at a time, mixing on medium-low speed after each addition. Mix until all the oats are incorporated.
4. Add the M&Ms and chocolate chips (and any other candy or chocolate you might like to add) and beat on low speed until mixed well.
5. Using a small cookie scoop (or a spoon), drop cookie dough onto the baking sheet (making sure they are at least mostly uniformly spherical for even baking), spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. They will need to be baked in several batches.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and allow them to cool on the pan for about 2 minutes. Then place the cookies on wire racks to finish cooling (although these cookies are also delicious warm). Serve warm or at room temperature.