Flourless Monster Cookie Bars – These delicious peanut butter blondies are studded with rolled oats, chocolate chips, and chocolate candies. Plus, they’re gluten free and dairy free! The perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Do you ever get a recipe stuck in your head? For me, it’s kind of like getting a song stuck in my head. When that happens, I listen to it/sing it 9,000 times and then I get it out of my system. My latest cookie craving was kind of like that. I wanted monster cookie bars. Have I ever had monster cookie bars? Nope. Sure haven’t. But, I have had monster cookies and peanut butter blondies, and this seemed like the perfect marriage of the two.
Here were my criteria:
- Soft and tender on the inside, with some crispy, golden edges.
- Plenty of oats, chocolate chips, and candies (classic for Monster Cookies!)
- Easy recipe with simple ingredients
- Gluten free & dairy free
We tried lots of combinations, but ultimately my favorite ended up being these flourless monster cookie bars. After SIX batches, we nailed the recipe, and my craving is totally satisfied. And, as a further benefit, now I’ve got the recipe the next time the craving strikes!
Let’s make them! (You won’t believe how simple and straightforward this ingredient list is!)
What’s in Monster Cookie Bars?
We took a classic monster cookie–peanut butter, oats, chocolate chips, and chocolate candies (like M&Ms) and gave it the gluten free, dairy free treatment. The end result was delicious blondies!
NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER. You can go creamy or crunchy, but we’re looking for JUST peanuts, or JUST peanuts and salt in the ingredients list. No oils, sugars, or stabilizers. Why? Because simple ingredients give you the drippy texture you need to mix into the batter and provide the right structure. Using peanut butter with oils or sugar won’t give you quite the same results. Target sells two good ones–this affordable organic one and this classic one. Sprouts and Trader Joe’s also carry some great options.
COCONUT SUGAR & PURE MAPLE SYRUP. It was a fun bonus that I could make these cookies naturally sweetened. I tried using all granulated sweetener or all liquid sweetener, but my favorite texture came from a combination. (If you don’t have/can’t find coconut sugar, you can sub brown sugar. Know they’ll be sweeter and the outside will crisp up just a bit more.)
EGGS OR FLAX EGGS. Pretty standard for cookies! The egg gives some puff and some softness to your monster cookie bars. If you don’t tolerate eggs or need a vegan option, you *can* use a flax egg or a powdered egg substitute (like this one or this one). The results are a little different, but passable if you need an egg-free option.
VANILLA, BAKING SODA & SALT. The usual suspects for a good, soft cookie. A generous splash of vanilla brings out the sweetness in all the other flavors and really pulls these together. Then baking soda gives us a little puff and softness, and salt balances out the flavor profile.
GLUTEN FREE ROLLED OATS. If you’re gluten intolerant, do be sure your oats are certified gluten free. Oats themselves don’t contain wheat gluten, but they’re often farmed or processed in ways that cause cross-contamination. Certified GF oats have been carefully handled to avoid this. I like Bob’s Red Mill and Trader Joe’s brands.
CHOCOLATE CHIPS. We’re dairy free, so I opt for allergy-friendly or dairy free chocolate chips. These and these are my favorites and are fairly widely available. I can find them at Kroger, Target, Walmart, Sprouts, Safeway, etc.
CANDY COATED CHOCOLATES. We’re gluten and dairy free, so traditional M&Ms won’t work for us. But, after a little looking, we actually found TWO brands that make a gluten free & vegan option. UNREAL and Little Secrets carry several varieties that are gluten and vegan. I like UNREAL quinoa crispies (so do my quinoa-hating kids!), and Little Secrets dark chocolate. Use what you can find, or feel free to use regular M&Ms if you don’t have to avoid dairy!
FAQ + TIPS & TRICKS FOR THESE MONSTER COOKIE BARS
DOUBLE CHECK YOUR PAN. These monster cookie bars can be made in an 8×8″ or a 9×9″ baking dish. You’ll want to be sure you know what size you’re using since an 8×8″ pan will take longer to bake (since the cookies will be a bit thicker) and the 9×9″ pan will cook faster (since they’re slightly thinner).
PS – need a pan? I love this one. It’s gorgeous and looks upscale, but with a Target price tag!
WHERE DO YOU FIND DAIRY FREE M&Ms? I’ve had good luck with UNREAL and Little Secrets brands. They carry gluten & dairy free options and both use natural coloring (from plants not dye!). I can find them at Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Amazon, Whole Foods, and Thrive Market. You can use any dairy free variety you like–dark chocolate and quinoa crispies are our faves.
WHAT ARE THE BEST DAIRY FREE CHOCOLATE CHIPS? We have great luck with Enjoy Life and Tollhouse Simply Delicious, which are both allergy friendly. These ones also taste AMAZING and don’t contain any dairy ingredients (but are made on shared equipment).
PSST! TRY THIS ON TOP! My FAVORITE way to finish these is with a tiny sprinkle of coarse sea salt flakes. SO GOOD.
CRAVING MORE? YOU MIGHT LOVE…
- The BEST Gluten Free Brownies
- Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Healthy No Bake Cookies
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen