We all have special people in our lives and want to show them our love in special ways. If you’re reading this blog, you probably like to make food for those you love. For me, I wanted to show my two younger brothers just how much I care about them while they are away from home serving our country.
When deciding which cookie to bake for my military brothers, naturally I leaned toward the classic chocolate chip. But after some research, I found that Monster cookies are a better choice because: 1) they are sturdier for shipping and 2) you can easily swap out the chocolate chips for M&M’s, which don’t melt as much in the hot weather overseas.
Also, my brothers were little monsters when they were growing up (Oh, do I have stories) so it seemed fitting, but we don’t have to share that with them… okay? Okay.
Monster cookies—everything cookies or kitchen-sink cookies, as some of you may know them—remind me of childhood. I remember making them with my mom and always throwing in lots of extra M&M’s… in the batter, sure, but mostly in my mouth.
I hope the Monster cookies will remind my brothers of home and let them know how proud I am of their service and bravery. Plus it’s my one brother’s birthday soon, so I wanted to surprise him with a homemade treat.
What’s great about this cookie dough is you can mix-in whatever you like and create separate batches with different mix-ins. You could try nuts, various types of chocolate chips, or other candies. Be creative, but be sure to half the mix-ins or else it will be all treats and no cookie (yes, that is a bad thing in this case!).
I made two separate batches: one for the birthday boy overseas with a ½ cup regular M&M’s and ½ cup peanut M&M’s (no chocolate chips due to the warm climate) and another for the brother in the States with a ½ cup regular M&M’s and ½ cup chocolate chips.
I doubled the recipe making about 140 cookies or almost 11 baker’s dozen. That’s a LOT of cookies.
140 cookies = one large container plus several small baggies for each care package + PLENTY of leftovers to snack on for the week and freeze for future cravings, which I wasn’t complaining about…
Recipe adapted very slightly from Paula Deen on FoodNetwork.com (Note: almost every Monster cookie recipe I found was virtually the same base dough)
Makes 6 dozen cookies (*Supposedly; it yielded almost 11 baker’s dozen for me with a cookie scoop)
LoftyBites’ Notes: This cookie is on the sweeter side, so you may want to reduce the sugar by ¼ or ½ cup. You can refrigerate the dough (for a few hours or overnight), which made it easier to scoop, took less time to bake, and produced a “puffier” cookie. Also, remember the cookie baking tip of allowing the cookie sheets to cool between batches to prevent spreading.
- 6 eggs (room temp)
- 2 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 24-ounce jar creamy peanut butter (28 oz. jar minus ½ cup)
- 2 sticks butter, softened (room temp)
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 9 cups old-fashioned oats or quick-cooking oatmeal (almost a full 42 oz. container)
- 1 cup regular M&M’s
- 1 cup chocolate chips (or peanut M&M’s)
- ½ cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well.
Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well.
By hand, stir in the baking soda, oatmeal, and mix-ins: M&M’s, chocolate chips, and raisins. (Note: if you want to do different batches, just stir in the baking soda and oatmeal; then divide the dough evenly into separate bowls, and stir in desired mix-ins).
Drop by tablespoons or cookie scoops 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 11 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.
Tips for shipping cookies in a care package (overseas or domestic):
- If the temperature is warm where you’ll be shipping, freeze or refrigerate the cookies until ready to ship. Remember to replace chocolate chips with another candy that won’t melt as easily, like M&M’s.
- If the package will take a while to reach the recipient (like shipping overseas), underbake the cookie by a minute or so. The cookies will keep longer this way. I baked the cookies for 10 mins. and they were still a bit underbaked.
- For packaging, I put a layer of paper towels on the bottom of a plastic container, in-between each layer of cookies, and on the top. I used two rubberbands to secure the lid. Use bubble wrap, plastic bags or other packing supplies to make sure the cookies don’t move around in the shipping box. Test it out by shaking the cookies (and then the package) to see if you hear anything moving around and add more cushion if needed.
Sending big hugs and cheer: My thoughts and prayers are with the brave soldiers currently deployed overseas, and with the service men and women in the States who are protecting our freedom. Show support for our troops!
Question: What cookies do you like to ship in care packages? What tips have you found?