These easy, giant gluten free chocolate chip monster cookies are made with oats, peanut butter, and plenty of brown sugar, but no rice flour.
What are monster cookies, anyway?
Monster cookies are basically just peanut butter oatmeal cookies with M&M chocolate candies and chocolate chips mixed in. They’re called “monster cookies” since they’re like the Frankenstein’s monster of cookies. All due respect to monsters. And cookies.
Most monster cookie recipes have some all purpose flour added, along with oats, to help give them structure. It’s just like what you would do with traditional (gluten free) oatmeal cookies.
The best thing about baking cookies with oats and oat flour in them is that they have a really satisfying chew to them. That’s why our “Mrs. Fields” gluten free chocolate chip cookies have oats—and probably why they’re the most popular chocolate chip recipe on this site.
(All Purpose) Flourless Baking
I take flourless baking very seriously. Well, I mean not “seriously” like you would health or welfare, but I don’t use the term “flourless” lightly, is all.
When any grain or even nut is ground into a flour and used in the recipe, I don’t consider it truly flourless. But this recipe is rice flourless/all purpose flourless. All of my all purpose gluten free flour recipes are based on rice flour.
Baking with oats and oat flour
Baking with oats (which can be substituted in all my baking, if you’re unable or unwilling to eat them!) can be tricky, though. Old fashioned rolled oats, which are one of the least processed forms of oats, are relatively thick.
One way to make a stable cookie that holds together is to add a rice flour blend to it. But in this gluten free chocolate chip monster cookies recipe, I simply ground some old fashioned rolled oats into a flour and added that to the recipe. Oats are simple to grind into a flour in a blender or food processor.
The rest of the oats in this recipe are more like quick-cooking oats. But I’m too cheap to ever buy oats any more processed than old-fashioned oats, so I just pulse old-fashioned oats a few times in a food processor. And I call them quick-cooking oats.
The result is an amazingly chewy oatmeal cookie with a satisfying peanut butter-chocolate flavor. They rise and spread evenly to make these giant monster cookies a real treat.
Making the cookies in one bowl
Whenever possible, I try to make cake batter and cookie dough in one single bowl. I find that it’s not often necessary to beat butter, sugar, and eggs separately unless you’re making a delicate vanilla cake, for example.
In this recipe, though, I prefer to mix the dry ingredients (oat flour, oats, baking soda and salt) in a separate bowl first. I find that it’s easiest to get all the lumps out of the brown sugar by mixing it with the butter, peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla separately. You don’t need a hand or stand mixer to do that job, although you could certainly use one.
The oat and oat flour mixture is then added to the wet ingredients and mixed just to combine. When baking with oat flour especially, the baked goods can become tough if you work the batter or dough too hard. This way, the oats can be handled much less when everything is combined.
If you would really prefer to make this recipe in one bowl, you can whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients (butter, peanut butter, egg mixture, vanilla, and sugar). Then mix until combined, but try not to overmix. Add the chips and candies, and mix gently to combine.
Ingredients and substitutions
These crisp-outside, chewy inside cookies have a fair number of additional allergens in them. Here are my best guesses for how to avoid them. Please keep in mind that this recipe was formulated to work precisely as written. The more substitutions you make, the more you are veering toward a separate recipe entirely.
Dairy-free: The only dairy in these cookies is from the unsalted butter and the M&Ms chocolate candies. The M&Ms can easily be replaced with more chocolate chips, and you can of course use dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips.
I haven’t tried replacing the butter, but you should be able to use Melt brand vegan butter, or even Earth Balance brand buttery sticks. I don’t generally like Earth Balance buttery sticks because they have so much moisture, but if you’d like to try using it, you might want to eliminate the extra egg yolk in the recipe.
Egg-free: The single whole egg in this recipe should be able to be replaced with 1 “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). The egg yolk is in the recipe for moisture, so you can try replacing it with about a tablespoon or so of smooth applesauce. I’m afraid you’ll just have to experiment!
M&Ms chocolate candies: If you live in the U.S., most plain varieties of M&Ms chocolate candies are gluten free. I do understand that if you’re in Australia, M&Ms aren’t gluten free. Just use miniature chocolate chips or even raisins!
Peanut butter: I specify “no-stir” smooth peanut butter in this recipe, as I do in most recipes that I write that contain peanut butter as an ingredient. All “no-stir” means is that the oil in the jar of peanut butter doesn’t separate significantly from the rest of the nut butter in the jar.
Most commercially prepared peanut butter is no-stir. My favorite brand is Skippy, but I also sometimes use Barney Butter—although it tends to be quite expensive. Even the “natural” kind of Skippy says on the outside “no need to stir.”
If you need to make this recipe without peanuts, I’m sure a similar style of almond butter (like Barney Butter) would work great. If you need the recipe to be nut-free, you can try replacing the nut butter with Wowbutter, which seems nice and creamy.
Oats: In the U.S., there are certified gluten free oats that are grown on dedicated gluten-free fields and stored in dedicated silos. As I note in the recipe below, I never buy oats that are more processed than old-fashioned rolled oats.
For oat flour, I simply grind them in a blender or food processor as finely as possible. For quick-cooking oats, I process them very quickly with just a few pulses in a food processor (a blender tends to grind oats into flour completely).
Oats can be replaced in baking. Oat flour should be replaced with quinoa flakes and the old-fashioned oats with beaten rice, but click through the link in the previous sentence for a complete explanation.