I made these chewy, crunchy, M&M-speckled cookies for my husband’s family the first time they visited (while Zach and I were still dating) and it was love at first bite. Most wheat-eaters avoid gluten-free treats for good reason: They usual don’t compare to regular baked goods.
However, these monster cookies are a notable exception. They’re made with just oats (you can buy gluten-free oats if your allergy is severe), held together with butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and eggs, and topped with colorful candies. No one would guess that they don’t contain flour, but you don’t have to buy any special ingredients to make them either. Win!
I usually keep homemade cookies in the freezer during the summer to keep them from getting soggy, and this summer I went one step further: I sandwiched vanilla ice cream between a couple monster cookies. The resulting sandwich was somehow better than the sum of its parts. The soft give of cold, creamy vanilla highlights the chewy, vanilla-y goodness of the cookie, with the awesomeness of peanut butter and the occasional crisp-shelled M&M thrown in for good measure. Make a batch of these treats and keep them in your freezer! Your summer will thank you.
Gluten-Free Monster Ice Cream Bars
Makes twenty 2 1/2″ wide sandwiches
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups old-fashioned or quick oats (not instant)
2 teaspoons baking soda
12 oz. bag M&Ms
Vanilla ice cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat together peanut butter, butter, and both sugars in a stand mixer (or by hand, if you don’t have a mixer) until creamy and well blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla.
2. Measure oats and baking soda into peanut butter mixture. Stir together until well-combined. Spoon dough by the heaping-tablespoonful onto cookie sheets (about 6 cookies per sheet). Press 4-5 M&Ms into each cookie.
3. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and set in the center. Let cool on cookie sheets completely. Pair cookies up according to size and shape for sandwiches, then freeze until firm (about three hours).
4. To assemble sandwiches, remove cookies and ice cream from freezer and let sit for 10 minutes. Using a butter knife or an offset spatula, spread about 1/4 cup softened ice cream onto the wrong side of one cookie and top with another cookie. Wrap finished sandwiches in foil or plastic wrap and store in freezer. Enjoy anytime! They keep in the freezer for two months.