These Nutella monster cookies are like a cross between a nut butter cookie and an oatmeal cookie. Made with Nutella instead of the traditional peanut butter, they’re a truly special treat.
What are monster cookies?
Classic monster cookies are naturally gluten free (yay!), made with peanut butter and oats, and no traditional flour. They’re big, thick, and chewy and packed chocolate chips and M&Ms (which are gluten free in the U.S.).
I love the idea of making any recipe that is naturally flourless since it should be naturally gluten free. But when I tried making any of the recipes out there for monster cookies, I was really disappointed to find that they just didn’t hold together very well.
If I hadn’t already developed a lot of flourless recipes, and seen how good they could be, I might have been satisfied with those crumbly monster cookie recipes. But we’re gluten free, and we know that there’s always a better way (amiright?)…
I’ve been baking more and more with oat flour, so I know how useful it can be. Unlike most monster cookie recipes, our monster cookies are made with a combination of old-fashioned rolled oats, plus oats ground into flour. That’s what makes the biggest difference, and gives us more of a traditional thick and chewy cookie texture in these amazing Nutella monster cookies.
How baking with Nutella is different
These hazelnut-flavored monster cookies aren’t made just by swapping Nutella for peanut butter in our original recipe. In a fit of hopefulness, I tried that, and the cookies spread into unintentional lace cookies.
Nutella is a nut butter hazelnut spread, but it simply doesn’t behave in baking the same way that peanut butter does. It’s a much thinner, even stickier spread.
The major difference in constitution between peanut butter and Nutella is that Nutella has a lot more sugar than even the most sugary jar of peanut butter. Sometimes, I can simply cut back on the sugar in a peanut butter recipe, and everything works out quite well. Like it did with our 3-ingredient Nutella brownies.
What else is different about this recipe?
Other times, it just doesn’t work—like here. Instead, I had to add more oat flour, use granulated instead of brown sugar, and cut down on the sugar overall. Since I couldn’t use as much Nutella as I would have liked, adding some cocoa powder really helped deepen the flavor without changing the texture.
It was all worth it, though, since these Nutella monster cookies are rich with chocolate-hazelnut flavor. They’re also still crisp outside and chewy inside, like the original.
Are M&Ms really gluten free?
As long as I’ve been baking gluten free (since 2004!), most M&Ms chocolate candies have been reliably gluten free. Sure, there are some unsafe varieties like the crispy M&Ms (made with crisp rice cereal that isn’t GF) and the pretzel M&Ms which are made with, well, pretzels.
But other than those outliers, plain, peanut, peanut butter, caramel and most of the other M&Ms candies are gluten free—in the U.S. I’ve learned that, sadly, in Australia (and maybe some other countries?), M&Ms are not gluten free. That is terrible news just in general since being able to buy a package of M&Ms at the grocery or convenience store has always been a fun, normal thing for my gluten free son.
If you can’t buy gluten free M&Ms, do you have Sixlets available? As far as I know, they’re gluten free everywhere. If you can’t find a candy-coated chocolate candy at all, you can simply use more chocolate chips. Or try another variety of chip in place of the M&Ms.
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: The only dairy in these cookies is from the unsalted butter and the M&Ms chocolate candies. In place of the M&Ms, try using more semi-sweet chocolate chips (and of course make sure they’re dairy-free!).
In place of the butter, try Melt brand vegan butter or Spectrum brand butter-flavored nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. I don’t recommend using Earth Balance buttery sticks since they have a ton of moisture.
In place of Nutella, try using Nicciolata brand Dairy Free Organic Hazelnut & Cocoa Spread. I’ve purchased it before on Vitacost.com, but if you search around you can find it in a few different places. They make a dairy-containing spread, too, so be sure you’re purchasing the right one.
Egg-free: In place of each of the two eggs in this recipe, try 1 “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). I haven’t tried this recipe egg-free, though, so you’ll have to experiment.
Oats: In the U.S., there are certified gluten free oats that are grown on dedicated gluten-free fields and stored in dedicated silos. Oats can be replaced in baking. Oat flour should be replaced with quinoa flakes and the old-fashioned oats with something called “beaten rice,” but click through the link in the previous sentence for a complete explanation.
I only buy certified gluten free old-fashioned rolled oats, and then grind them in a blender or food processor as finely as possible for oat flour. 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).
M&Ms: Please see the separate discussion above!