The best peanut free version of XL Monster Cookies packed with semi sweet chocolate chips, candy coated chocolates, and almond butter.
Alright I’m finally doing it – talking about my son’s peanut allergy. Honestly it’s taken me this long because I straight up keep chicken-ing out. I know that putting my thoughts and decisions as a parent out there is basically asking for people to debate them and to judge me for them. So I’ll start by saying I’m not a doctor. I’m just a regular mom – out here wingin’ it. Hoping that this story might help another mama going through the same thing.
So just be kind. And if you don’t agree with every parenting move I make, that’s okay.
Never in a million years did I think that peanuts would be a cause of concern in my life. Before Griff’s allergy was confirmed, I only knew of one other person with a peanut allergy in my entire life – and that was my cousin’s son who was 3 at the time. I thought it was so rare that I never even gave it a single thought. But now here we are – reading every ingredient label and wanting to scream every time I see the words “may contain.”
I had given Griffin peanut butter probably 10 times before I noticed anything abnormal. Our pediatrician recommended giving small tastes of peanut butter starting at 6 months. So I did. The first time, he had zero reaction and I had a small sigh of relief. Then, after that, I would give him peanut butter all the time as a little treat and he LOVED IT. But, on probably the 10th time, his neck got slightly red. I kind of brushed it off like “Oh, maybe his skin is just dry.” But on the 11th time – his neck got red, the skin around his mouth got red, and he was scratching at his throat.
My heart literally dropped. I knew in that instant. I didn’t need the blood test, or the doctor’s confirmation. I just knew. Isn’t that funny how sometimes your mama heart just knows?
So I immediately started crying and called my husband. And for some reason all I could think about is him being on a baseball team someday. You know in little league when your team wins and you get to go to Dairy Queen to celebrate? All I could think was that he wouldn’t ever be able to slide into a booth with his buddies and brag about that double play he made while going to town on a Blizzard. Thinking about that just made me SO. SAD.
And if you’re reading this thinking “Oh my God, is it really that big of a deal? It could be worse.” Just know that before my kid was the one dealing with it, those were my exact thoughts about it. And yes, sure, it could be worse. Absolutely. But does that mean I’m not allowed to be sad about it? Does that mean that it doesn’t STILL SUCK? No. It doesn’t. SO SOOOO many people said that to me, “It could be worse.” And the way that made me feel – like it was just being dismissed – made me hyper aware that I should never say that to another mother going through ANYTHING.
So after the official confirmation that yes, he does indeed have a peanut allergy, I really tried to shift my focus from feeling sory for him, to these three things.
- How do I keep him safe?
- How do I convince our friends and family to take it seriously? (But that’s a story for another day.)
- How can I make sure he never feels different, left out, or like he’s missing out on anything?
And there began my quest to overhaul all of my favorite peanut butter desserts. Starting with these Peanut Free Monster Cookies. Like, there was absolutely no way I was going to let him miss out on monster cookies. Nope. And I am willing to bet that if I didn’t tell you they were peanut free, you WOULDN’T. EVEN. KNOW.
How to Make Peanut Free Monster Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet or two with parchment paper. You can bake them in batches, so one cookie sheet is fine, but they’re big (hello, monster) cookies so you’re only going to bake 4-5 per cookie sheet.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, almond butter, and sugars for 5 minutes. The long time in the mixer allows air to incorporate into the dough and gives you the best chewy texture.
Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients and mix until there are a few streaks of flour remaining. Add in the chocolate chips and the candy coated chocolate and fold them in with a rubber spatula.
Scoop the dough out onto the parchment lined cookie sheet using a standard ice cream scoop or large cookie scoop. Bake 4-5 cookies per sheet. Bake at 350 for 13 minutes, then allow to cool slightly on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
Ok the elephant in this peanut free room is the candy coated chocolates. So let’s address it. M&Ms are a hot debate and mostly viewed as a no-no because they are produced in a facility that processes peanut products. Ahem, peanut & peanut butter m&ms.
Honestly, m&ms are in my comfort zone right now. Griff is 18 months old so he’s rarely having candy, but I do let him have a couple every now and then. I’m not saying you should do the same or that my opinion on this won’t change as he gets older. In these photos, I used the Trader Joes version of m&m’s, which also say “may contain” but they are what I had on hand and I liked the muted colors from the natural dyes for the photos.
If you have a peanut kid and m&ms are NOT in your comfort zone, there are alternatives for you. I have recently discovered Skippers. Totally peanut free and actually taste incredibly similar to the real deal. They offer a milk and a dark chocolate variety.
When I set out to recreate a peanut free version of a monster cookie, I wanted them to be big, gooey, and have that same salty creamy factor that the peanut butter gives the OG version. When I finally found Barney Butter it was a total game changer for me. I was disappointed with every other alternative nut butter option I could find on my local shelves. And most of them still said “may contain peanuts” in addition to not tasting that great. I truly think my Peanut Free Monster Cookies taste like they have peanut butter in them. All thanks to Barney Butter. Not an ad, just a MAJOR fan.Print
The BEST peanut free alternative to the traditional monster cookie. Just as big, gooey, and loaded with chocolate chips and candy coated chocolates as the original.
- 1 1/4 C Old Fashioned Oats
- 1 C All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 C (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 C Barney Bare Smooth Almond Butter (or your favorite creamy nut butter)
- 3/4 C Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/4 C Granulated Sugar
- 1 Lg Egg, + 1 Yolk
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 C Peanut Free Chocolate Candies such as Skippers
- 1 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, almond butter, and sugars for 5 minutes.
- Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Mix to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until there are a few flour streaks remaining.
- Fold in the chocolate chips and candy coated chocolate pieces.
- Scoop onto cookie sheet with standard ice cream scoop or a large cookie scoop. Bake 4-5 cookies at a time.
- Bake at 350 for 13 minutes, then allow to cool slightly on the hot cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
- The extra molasses in dark brown sugar helps you to get the perfect chewy texture, but if you don’t have any you can substitute the same amount of light brown sugar. If you have light brown sugar and molasses, add 3/4 C light brown sugar + 1 TBSP molasses.
Keywords: peanut free cookies, peanut free monster cookies, almond butter cookies