Bars, Desserts, Recipes

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
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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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Desserts, Other, Recipes

Bunny Bait, or White Chocolate Snack Mix You Can Make All Year

I feel so lame calling this snack mix “Bunny Bait.” What I REALLY want to call it, despite those springtime Easter M&Ms, is Ho Ho Ho Cheerio Mix. Because that’s its real name [for Christmastime]. My mom was given this recipe back in the day with her friend Kim, and it’s been a family favorite ever since. The sweet and salty snack mix is super addictive, so I don’t suggest making a batch unless you have lots of friends and family to share with.

Bunny Bait, or White Chocolate Snack Mix You Can Make All Year Long | thepajamachef.com

Though I want to tell you that the ingredients in this snack mix–Crispix, Cheerios, pretzels, peanuts, and M&Ms are sacred, they really aren’t. Case in point: when I was shopping for ingredients to make this batch, I accidentally grabbed Chex cereal instead of Crispix. I don’t know what I was thinking! But it worked just fine. So feel free to substitute ingredients with what ya got or what you want to use. Cause really, when you pair M&Ms with crunchy cereal and salty pretzels and peanuts [that I left out this time because this batch was a gift for student workers in the library, and I wanted to be sensitive to possible peanut allergies], and top everything with white chocolate, you can’t go wrong. This Bunny Bait or Ho Ho Ho Cheerio Mix or White Chocolate Snack Mix is just divine. It’s perfect for Easter or any holiday, just use the seasonal M&Ms to make it extra festive. Enjoy! 🙂 Happy Easter!

Bunny Bait, or White Chocolate Snack Mix You Can Make All Year| thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Pork Chops with Quinoa, Kale, and Blood Orange
two years ago: Best Burrito Bowls Ever
three years ago: Sausage Egg Apple Strata

Bunny Bait, Ho Ho Ho Cheerio Mix, or White Chocolate Snack Mix You Can Make All Year

  • Servings: 12 cups
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from my mom’s friend Kim
Ingredients:

  • 6 cups Crispix or Chex Cereal
  • 6 cups Cheerios
  • 2 cups pretzels
  • 2 cups peanuts, optional
  • 2 cups M&Ms [I usually use the smallest “large” bag they sell, about 12 or 13 ounces]
  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips, or 1 package vanilla/almond/white chocolate candy coating –> this works wayyy better than the white chocolate chips and I think it comes in 18 ounce packages
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, optional

Directions:

In the largest bowl or roaster you own, stir together cereals, pretzels, peanuts, and M&Ms. Then melt white chocolate chips or candy coating  in the microwave, heating in 30 second bursts and stirring well in between until melted. This usually takes me about 90 seconds.

Stir oil into white chocolate to help with pouring if you like, then pour white chocolate over cereal mix. Stir together to coat, then spread on wax paper to set.

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.

Bars, Desserts, Recipes

Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day came a little early to our kitties! Ben and I had a little coffee/shopping/errands date last Friday night and went to the pet store for some kitty toys. Now, don’t get me wrong, our cats are spoiled little girls. They don’t get along so we have to keep them separated unless we are around, so we do have to have multiples of most cat items just to keep ’em happy. But we’re suckers for making sure they have exactly what they want [right down to the milk out of our cereal bowls], so when Misty’s favorite toy broke recently, we had to get her a replacement.

Misty

Of course, we had to get Sheba a toy too… how could we not? Yes, we are crazy cat people in case you were wondering. 🙂

Sheba

Not sure if you can see the detail, but it’s pink with white hearts! How appropriate for Valentine’s Day, huh? And speaking of appropriate for Valentine’s Day… check out these Red Velvet Marshmallow Bars!

Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites | The Pajama Chef

I didn’t get these made far enough in advance for you to make them before today, but if you’re looking for a super fast and tasty holiday treat, these are just the ticket! With a thick, brownie-like red velvet base, these bites don’t really need anything else to be delicious, but topping them with gooey marshmallows and a few chocolatey M&Ms makes them even better!

Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites | The Pajama Chef

The original recipe made these miniature sized treats in bar form, but since I made these to take them today to my class and for Ben to take to work, I decided I didn’t want to mess with cutting a whole pan of Red Velvet Marshmallow Bars into nice pieces. Mini muffin cups are my BFF sometimes! If you would prefer to make them in a pan, you can totally do that–just click over to the original recipe for altered times and quantities. But I personally love anything miniature, I think these are just perfect… and I think you will too!

Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites | The Pajama Chef

Hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day! What are your plans? My sweet husband is cooking me dinner and making me a pie! I can’t wait! 🙂

Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites [slightly adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 [18.25 ounces] box red velvet cake mix
  • 1/4 cup canola oil [or melted butter]
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cups Valentines M&Ms

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two mini muffin pans by spraying with nonstick cooking spray or lining with paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cake mix, oil, water, and egg. Mix on low until fully combined, scraping the sides as needed.

Scoop thick batter into mini muffin cups in generous tablespoon increments [a cookie scoop would be helpful if you have one]. If batter is not smooth, use a spatula coated with a little cooking spray to spread it in place.

Bake for 14-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Press in 3 mini marshmallows and top with 3 M&Ms, then return to oven for 2 minutes to allow marshmallows to melt.

Time: 35 minutes total time, 15 minutes active time.

Yield: 38 bites.