Flourless Monster Cookie Bars (Gluten Free)

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you’ll enjoy all summer long! They’re also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

I LOVE cookie bars. I love cookies too, but making them can be a huge pain. So I usually choose to make cookie bars. This recipe intrigued me because they looked ooey gooey (especially the center pieces!) AND they’re baked in a half size sheet pan so the recipe makes a ton! They’re perfect for every social event of the summer, from cookouts to pool parties and everything in between. Of course, they can also be made year-round. 🙂

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

As with any other Monster Cookie, these bars are full of oats, peanut butter deliciousness, M&Ms, and mini chocolate chips. As the recipe is written, it calls for both old-fashioned and quick oats. It’s a texture thing I guess, and I’ve always followed the recipe in that way everytime I’ve made them. I usually just pulse some old-fashioned oats in the food processor to achieve a finer texture. If you only have one kind of oats or the other, that’s fine too… the recipe should turn out.

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

One reason I was excited to make these cookie bars (aside from their simplicity and fabulous, addictive taste) is that they are so easy to make gluten free! Our family isn’t gluten free (and I’m not an expert) BUT I do have some friends who are, so I like to have some tried and true recipes on hand that they can enjoy as well. For this recipe, you just need to make sure to use gluten free oats. In my experience, most of the other ingredients should be gluten free naturally–but check labels if this is an issue for you, particularly for the peanut butter, vanilla, and M&Ms. If you are gluten free and I missed anything, please feel free to share in the comments! I hope you love these bars as much as we do!

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

P.S. They free wonderfully and taste great at room temperature or heated up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds–so don’t be afraid of the large batch… I’m sure you’ll find a use for them. 🙂

one year ago: Honey Banana Muffins
two years ago: Ricotta Pancakes
three years ago: Italian Tortilla Rollups
four years ago: Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese
five years ago: Cinnamon Carrot Muffins
six years ago: Sweet Potato Waffles

Flourless Monster Cookie Bars (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 45 small bars
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

from Together as Family

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (I use regular/not natural peanut butter for baking)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free quick oats (I usually just pulse old-fashioned oats a couple times in the food processor to break them down a bit)
  • 3 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats
  • 1-2 cups mini M&Ms (pssst: at my grocery story, mini M&Ms found in the candy aisle are cheaper than the “baking bits” M&Ms found in the baking aisle and seem to be the same)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet (half size sheet pan) with parchment or a silpat.

With a stand mixer, beat together brown sugar, sugar, peanut butter, and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. Mix in baking soda.

Add oats and beat on low to just combine, then use a wooden spoon to mix in most of the M&Ms and mini chocolate chips until well incorporated. You can save a little of each to press on top of the bars if desired.

Turn out dough onto prepared baking sheet. Spread the dough out–it is a little tricky, but i found that greasing my hands or a spatula were the best ways to spread out the dough. Top with reserved M&Ms and mini chocolate chips, pressing them in gently.

Bake for about 17-20 minutes–do not overbake! The edges should be just browned and the middle will look underdone but it will finish baking as it cools. Cool for at least an hour so the bars can set.

Once cool, slice and enjoy! These bars also freeze well.

Note: I am not an expert, but I THINK if you use gluten free oats, this would be a great gluten free dessert recipe. From what I’ve read, most M&Ms (including mini M&Ms) are gluten free. You may need to check labels of other ingredients like the vanilla and peanut butter–the brands I use at home are gluten free but all are not. If you’re gluten free and I’ve overlooked anything, please chime in!

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Fantastical Food Fight: Baked PB + J Pie

Your favorite childhood sandwich… in PIE form! Enjoy PB&J in a whole new way. It’s not Pi Day anymore but that doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy some pie. 🙂

Your favorite childhood sandwich... in PIE form! Enjoy PB&J in a whole new way. :)

Hey hey! It’s PB&J… not on bread… but in a PIE. Yes, you read that right. Peanut butter and jelly… in pie. Whaaaaat? I made this delicious pie for the PB&J themed Fantastical Food Fight this month. (New to Fantastical Food Fight? Check out all the details here–this is my first time joining in and I’m sure it won’t be my last.) This pie combines the best of the sweet childhood sandwich with a little bit of adult sophistication.

Your favorite childhood sandwich... in PIE form! Enjoy PB&J in a whole new way. :)

When tasked with making a peanut butter and jelly themed recipe for Fantastical Food Fight this month, I had so many ideas… cookies, cake, muffins, candy… the sweet treats go on and on! I even considered some kind of savory peanut butter pasta that incorporated berries somehow… or even a peanut butter-dressed kale salad with fruit. But then… somehow, someway… peanut butter and jelly PIE started sounding awfully appealing. I think it was the leftover cubed butter I had in the freezer from Thanksgiving that started it. See, my go-to pie crust requires cubing butter and chilling it in the freezer, so there you have it. To make the crust a little more interesting, I substituted some of the flour for crushed graham crackers to mimic some of the super-sweetness of the childhood version of the PB&J.

Your favorite childhood sandwich... in PIE form! Enjoy PB&J in a whole new way. :)

Most Peanut Butter Pies are no-bake concoctions, featuring lots of whipped cream, powdered sugar, and fluffy sweetness. But for some reason, I wasn’t feeling that lightness–I wanted something creamy and thick, more like the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I still have for lunch on occasion. So I consulted my friend Google and found a few baked peanut butter pies and decided to give it a whirl! Turns out baked peanut butter pie is AWESOME, my friends! The texture is similar to pumpkin pie or even a homemade pudding/custard pie… it is rich and delicious. When you add a layer of jam between the graham cracker-laced crust and the creamy peanut butter pie filling, you’ll be in heaven. Each bite is better than the last. I used cherry preserves in this layer and the tartness pairs so well with the sweet peanut butter filling… but any kind of jam/jelly/preserves would go well I do believe. 🙂

Your favorite childhood sandwich... in PIE form! Enjoy PB&J in a whole new way. :)

I would say one slice is enough… but it really isn’t! Haha. We couldn’t get enough of this pie and hope you feel the same way. 🙂

one year ago: Coffee Chocolate Chip Streusel Muffins
two years ago: Mujaddara: Mediterranean Lentils and Rice with Carrot Slaw
three years ago: Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk
four years ago: Double Blueberry Walnut Muffins
five years ago: Quinoa Pancakes
six years ago: Lemon Blueberry Bread

P.S. Are you loving my custom stamped fork? Check out my college friend Nicole’s awesome Etsy shop, Tattooed Silver. #GiftIdea

Find more PB&J deliciousness at the link below!

Baked PB + J Pie

crust adapted from Simply Recipes, pie from Magnola Days

Ingredients:

for crust:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 8 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I like storing mine in the freezer for at least 1 hour)
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice water, very cold

for pie:

  • 2 eggs, at room temperature and separated
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 5 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup jam or preserves of choice (I used cherry preserves)

Directions:

Begin by making your pie crust. If desired you can just use storebought or use your favorite recipe.

Pulse flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Add about half of the butter cubes and pulse 6-8 times, then add the rest and do the same. The butter should be pea-sized at this point. Add water (minus the ice cubes) one tablespoon at a time, pulsing between additions, until the mixture starts to clump together. The dough is ready when you pinch it and it holds together. I usually use about 4 tablespoons water–don’t add too much or crust will be tough.

Turn dough out onto a clean countertop and shape into a disk. Dust with flour on all sides, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to a couple days. When ready to use, bring to room temperature for about 10-15 minutes, then unwrap. Sprinkle some flour on the dough and countertop so the dough doesn’t stick. Use a rolling pin to roll out dough to a 12 inch circle. Gently fold in half before transferring to a pie pan, then press dough into pan. Alternatively, you can skip the rolling out process and just press this dough into the pan–sometimes that is easier, though it won’t be as pretty. Keep handling to a minimum for ultimate dough flakiness.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Then, make your pie filling. Beat egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form–I used my stand mixer for this, but a hand mixer would be fine too. In another large bowl, whisk egg yolks and brown sugar together. Mixture should be thick and light brown in color. Add peanut butter and corn syrup, then stir to combine. Mix in milk and vanilla, then gently fold in egg whites.

Spread jam or preserves directly on pie crust, then pour peanut butter mixture on top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until filling is set. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Honey Oatmeal Cookies

Delightful little chocolate-studded oatmeal cookies filled with lots of peanut butter and honey flavor. Everyone will sneak open the cookie jar for “just one more” over and over again!

Delightful little chocolate-studded oatmeal cookies filled with lots of peanut butter and honey flavor. Everyone will sneak open the cookie jar for "just one more" over and over again!

My  mom has the cutest habit. Whenever she makes a recipe, she jots down a note on the recipe itself with her thoughts and the date. So no matter if it’s a recipe from a cookbook, a magazine, or printed out from the internet, she has a record of when she made a recipe AND what everyone thought of it. The worst recipes get thrown away or crossed out… but the best she sends on to her daughters. I have to admit that I don’t make all of the recipes she sends my way… but the best? Of course. 🙂 And since these Peanut Butter Honey Oatmeal Cookies, first made in February 2011, were “out of this world,” you know I HAD to make them.

Delightful little chocolate-studded oatmeal cookies filled with lots of peanut butter and honey flavor. Everyone will sneak open the cookie jar for "just one more" over and over again!

Why wouldn’t they be out of this world? Let’s look at the ingredients: oats, peanut butter, honey, chocolate… these are a few of my favorite things! Aren’t they yours?

Delightful little chocolate-studded oatmeal cookies filled with lots of peanut butter and honey flavor. Everyone will sneak open the cookie jar for "just one more" over and over again!

I’ve made these cookies two ways, as you can see in the recipe below. The first way is with a combination of peanut butter and honey. Don’t use the straight up natural kind–there’s too much oil–but you can use the shelf-stable natural peanut butter. That works great! OR  you can use some of those fun peanut butters that blend honey and peanut butter together, or even use honey-roasted peanut butter. The possibilities are endless! Just be sure to use some sort of honey and peanut butter combo, because it’s the addition of honey that takes these oatmeal based cookies from ordinary to out of this world extraordinary! P.S. Crunchy peanut butter lovers take note–crunchy peanut butter is awesome here too! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Enjoyyy!

one year ago: Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples
two years ago: Potato Rosemary Knots
three years ago: Lindsay’s Chicken Noodle Soup
four years ago: 60 Minute Sandwich Buns
five years ago: Mexican Chicken Alfredo
six years ago: Tomato Tortellini Soup

Peanut Butter Honey Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: 6 dozen cookies
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Print

from my mom 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter – I used the Peter Pan Natural kind… any of the shelf stable “natural” peanut butters would be fine, or regular peanut butter. I wouldn’t use natural peanut butter that you have to refrigerate though. Creamy or crunchy peanut butter are both good options here. You can omit the honey below if you want to use a honey-peanut butter blend.
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together oats, flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

With an electric mix, beat together butter, peanut butter, and honey. Beat in sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs until just combined, then fold in oat mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop out the dough onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cookies cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies #FoodBloggerLove

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with some delicious, chewy mocha oatmeal cookies and a dose of food blogger love?

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

We don’t do very much for Valentine’s Day at our house… we usually make a special meal, but we don’t do extravagant gifts or anything like that. I think our tradition of a special dinner dates back to our first Valentine’s Day together in 2008. It was our third date, but we weren’t “official” yet. Ben actually cooked for me, one of his favorite meals using a mom recipe… and dessert was cookies that his mom had mailed to him. Aww! So since that time, I’ve always associated Valentine’s Day with cookies and a special meal. Therefore, it was only natural that when I signed up for #FoodBloggerLove, a day to celebrate other bloggers, that I would choose to make COOKIES for her! My #FoodBloggerLove assignment this year is Heather at Join Us, Pull Up a Chair. And fortunately, Heather likes cookies. 🙂

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

For #FoodBloggerLove, our only “rule” was to celebrate our assigned blogger. You could make one of their recipes, Secret Recipe Club-style (for longtime readers who remember the SRC!), make a Valentine’s Day dish/treat, or make a recipe in the style of your assigned blogger. As you can see, I chose the latter. Heather has tons of great recipes on her blog. I’ve made a few in the past, including this Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad (yum!). There were quite a few recipes I considered this time, like these Cranberry Orange Muffins, Valentine’s Day Popcorn, or Peanut Butter & Jelly Pretzel Bars. But when I realized that Heather probably has more cookie and cookie bar recipes than anything else on her blog, I realized I HAD to make cookies. I thought about Cranberry Vanilla Shortbread, Dark Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies, S’mores Cookies, or Peanut Butter Nutella Swirled Cookies… but ultimately decided to give Heather the gift of a new cookie recipe she just has to try… Mocha Oatmeal Cookies!

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

These cookies are just as delicious as they look: deep, dark chocolate (with a little Nutella thrown in for good measure!), a hint of coffee flavor, hearty oats, and the perfect combination of crisp, soft, and chewy to make an addictive cookie that you’ll want to make over and over again for the ones you love! I hope you love them, Heather. You have so many delicious chocolate and cookie recipes on your blog that I thought these would be perfect for you! Even though they are mocha cookies, the flavor isn’t too intense so I think kids would be a-okay with them. Enjoy!

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

For more delicious recipes, please check out Heather’s blog at Join Us, Pull Up a Chair. You can also follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

one year ago: Tangy Sweet Potato Hash
two years ago: Spiced Fig Turkey Mini Meatloaf
three years ago: Sweet Potato Pork Quesadillas
four years ago: Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies
five years ago: Caramel S’mores Cups
six years ago: Bacon-Wrapped Feta & Almond Stuffed Dates

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: 5 dozen cookies
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Print

from Sunday Supper

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 ounces Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together melted chocolate, Nutella, and instant coffee. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Fold in the chocolate mixture, then stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 3 days).
Use a small cookie scoop (2 teaspoons) to scoop out the dough onto cookies sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Cool for 10 minutes on the pans before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

 

Please check out all the #FoodBloggerLove recipes at the link below!

Interested in joining us next year, or in one of the other blogging events hosted throughout the year? Join our Facebook group!

Cranberry Dessert Pizza

Dessert pizza just like your local Pizza Hut used to make… except dressed up for the holidays with a honeyed cranberry sauce! There’s crumb topping and vanilla glaze too. Each bite of this sweet treat is better than the last!

Disclaimer: This recipe was created for the Cape Cod Select Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge. Please follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I was sent free cranberries for recipe development purposes, but was in any other way compensated for my time, ingredients, etc. 

Dessert pizza just like your local Pizza Hut used to make... except dressed up for the holidays with a honeyed cranberry sauce! There's crumb topping and vanilla glaze too. Each bite of this sweet treat is better than the last!

I have fond memories of the Pizza Hut buffet. My family used to go after church sometimes when I was a kid and it was a TREAT to get my choice of pizza slices, breadsticks, salad… in the amounts I wanted. Which, let’s face it, probably created a lot of waste because kids take a few bites of something before moving on to something else. Oops. It was so fun to run up to the buffet when they brought out a new pizza… and when it was one of their dessert pizzas, watch out! Everyone in the restaurant headed up in en masse to grab a slice of dessert pizza–some ridiculously sweet fruit topping out of a can: cherries or apples, usually covered with a crumb topping and drizzled to death with vanilla icing. So. Good. I haven’t been to a Pizza Hut buffet in years and I don’t think they even make these dessert pizzas anymore… so I decided to make my own!

Dessert pizza just like your local Pizza Hut used to make... except dressed up for the holidays with a honeyed cranberry sauce! There's crumb topping and vanilla glaze too. Each bite of this sweet treat is better than the last!

As you can probably guess, my dessert pizza is a little fresher, a little fancier than ye olde Pizza Hut’s was… but that’s okay, the original version was great in its own way! But let’s talk today’s version. Instead of a canned fruit topping, I made a cranberry sauce using Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries. Check ’em out at a store near you. I can’t find fresh cranberries at my local grocery store anymore, so it’s great to have a frozen option to help with those cranberry cravings in July. 🙂 They’ll even ship them from their website. How cool! But back to this pizza. My cranberry sauce is sweetened with honey and scented with grapefruit… and I would have eaten it by the spoonful had I not needed it for this recipe. In fact, I might make another batch soon so I can do just that! I know it’s pretty typical for cranberries and oranges to be paired together, but I personally love grapefruit and the aromatic bittersweetness it adds to dishes. The smell of the cranberries as they cooked in a mixture of grapefruit zest, juice, and water was fantastic! This sauce easily is the star of the dessert pizza… but it can’t be all by itself. In true Pizza Hut style, I also made a quick crumb topping with lots of brown sugar, oats, and pumpkin pie spice to layer on top of the sauce and crust. After baking, an easy vanilla glaze drizzled on top adds just the sweetness you need to contrast with the sweet-tart goodness of the cranberry sauce. Everything was absolutely delicious together–perfect for dessert or even breakfast. 🙂 I hope you enjoy this pizza as much as we did! Happy New Year! 2017!

one year ago: Cheesy Southwest Farro
two years ago: Spiced Biscotti with Eggnog Glaze

three years ago: Baked Fish Tacos with Cranberry Salsa
four years ago: White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies
five years ago: Classic Sugar Cookies
six years ago: Sweet-Spicy Pretzel Mix

Cranberry Dessert Pizza

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch pizza dough – I used my favorite but storebought or another recipe would work too!

for cranberry “sauce”

  • 1 1/2 cups Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries
  • zest and juice of 1 grapefruit – approximately 3 tablespoons zest and 6 ounces juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

for crumb topping

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks

for vanilla glaze

  • 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons half and half [or milk]
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine cranberries, grapefruit zest and juice, and water. Cook until cranberries burst, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in honey and the tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water. Allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, press pizza dough into a pizza pan [mine is 14 inches].

Prepare crumb topping by combining brown sugar, oats, flour, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut cold butter into the mixture until coarse crumbs are formed.

Spread cranberry sauce over uncooked pizza crust, then sprinkle on crumb topping.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until crust and topping are both golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make vanilla glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, half and half, and vanilla. Add extra powdered sugar or half and half to reach desired consistency.

Drizzle glaze on cooled pizza. I had extra… perfect for dipping! For best results, wait until the pizza is mostly cool before cutting to allow the cranberry sauce to set. It’s a little messier if you cut it while warm, but still delicious either way!