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. If you order it, be sure you've selected 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.
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!
Nutella Monster Cookies
1 1/2 cups (180 g) oat flour (certified gluten free if necessary)*
1 1/2 cups (150 g) old-fashioned rolled oats (certified gluten free if necessary)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (54 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (148 g) Nutella hazelnut spread
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces plain M&Ms (gluten free in the U.S.)
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
*I never buy oat flour or even quick-cooking oats. I just process old-fashioned rolled oats in a food processor or blender either a little (quick-cooking oats) or a lot (oat flour).
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.
In a large bowl, place the oat flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and granulated sugar, and whisk and/or mix until well-combined. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, Nutella, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until combined. The cookie dough will be very thick and relatively stiff. Press the mixture down with the back of the mixing spoon to help the cookie dough absorb all of the dry ingredients. Add the M&Ms and chocolate chips, and mix until they’re evenly distributed throughout the cookie dough.
Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop or two spoons, scoop the dough into mounds about 2 1/2 tablespoons each on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart from one another. Using wet fingers, press each mound down into a disk about 1/2-inch thick. For thicker cookies, chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or the freezer for about 5 minutes.
Place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake until just set in the center (10 to 12 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet until firm before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Originally published on the blog in 2013. Recipe adapted to be rice flour-free, photos and video all new.