Reinvented Monster Cookies


(Note: this post was originally published on July 7, 2019 and the photos were updated on February 28, 2021. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

Cookie Nostalgia

Remember those huge "Monster Cookies" we all used to get as kids? The ones as big as your head and jam-packed with all the goodies? Totally the best.

These days, I prefer my cookies to have some redeeming nutritional value. They should absolutely still be delicious and decadent (and BIG). But there's no rule saying that cookies can't be both indulgent and also nourishing for your body, right?? In fact, let's take the perspective that cookies should be so good for you that you should want (need!) to eat them every day. Oh yes, now we're talking!

These monster cookies are all of my cookie dreams come true. The dough is just dates, peanut butter, and nut milk (plus baking powder and a bit of flax meal to bind it all together). This means that they're loaded with protein, have lots of healthy fats, and are completely fruit-sweetened. The ingredients are actually better for the body than the vast majority of "healthy" protein bars.

The Magic of Dates

Speaking of protein bars, does the combination of dates and nuts sound familiar to you? If so, that's because these are basically a (round, baked) Lara Bar! If you haven't made them yet, you'll definitely want to check out my homemade Lara Bars, which are the go-to portable snack in our house. While Lara Bars are a raw snack, these cookies are baked, meaning they need a little help with binding and leavening, but otherwise it's the exact same idea.

If you've never baked with dates before, you'll be addicted after making these cookies. The dates make them so wonderfully chewy, in a way that a flour cookie can't even imagine. Plus of course dates have all sorts of redeeming nutritional value and add not only great natural sweetness to the cookie but also a delightfully caramel-like flavor. I've honestly become so enamored with dates in baking that I use them in pretty much everything now; check out these Flourless Coffee Macadamia Blondies for more inspiration!

Quick and Customizable

Perhaps best of all, these cookies are brought to you by the power of the food processor in just a few minutes. No fussy measuring, no bowls, no separate dry ingredients and wet ingredients, no chill time. Just blitz 'em, bake 'em, and devour. You can easily make a double batch if your food processor is big enough.

To make them into classic Monster Cookies, add whatever other goodies you wish. You could stay a bit on the tamer side with some nuts, coconut, and/or cranberries. Or go all-out with loads of chocolate! Or do some combination thereof. This recipe is easily vegan, grain-free, and/or free of refined sugar as long as you obey those criteria with your add-ins. In the photos here I've shown dark chocolate chunks, rainbow chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, and coconut, but every time I make these cookies they end up a bit different.

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Dates. Double check that they're pitted! It's totally annoying, but you really do need to cut open every single one. I usually find one sneaky pit every time I make these cookies, and they can break teeth.
  • Peanut butter. I use extra chunky, but use what you have. This will work with another nut/seed butter if you have a peanut butter allergy, but good old PB definitely yields the best flavor.
  • Milk of choice. I like baking with soy milk most, but anything will work. I prefer unsweetened and unflavored to really let the peanut butter shine.
  • Flax seed meal. This will help your cookies bind together more effectively, plus it adds some good-for-the-body omegas. They'll work okay without it though, so you can omit it if needed.
  • Baking powder
  • Awesome add-ins. The sky is the limit! Monster Cookies are really all about the add-ins, so go crazy with at least a few different things.

It's True Love

I can't even describe to you how much I love these cookies. I adore a good peanut butter cookie, and these are honestly some of the best. All too often, peanut butter cookies are overshadowed by the other ingredients (e.g. they become too sweet and just taste like a sugar cookie). These put the peanut butter in the forefront, exactly where it should be.

I have to admit that, out of everything on my blog, this is one of the recipes that I make most frequently. We just can't get enough of them. I've made these cookies a truly absurd number of times.

These monster cookies will make you feel like a kid again. Decadent! Delicious! And yet they're basically just dates and peanuts, so I vote that having cookies for lunch (breakfast??) is completely acceptable.

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Reinvented Monster Cookies

A very nourishing take on the classic monster cookie, these whole-food treats get their sweetness from dates and their moisture from nut butter! Load them up with whatever fun add-ins you love.



  • 2 c dates, pitted
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 0.25 c milk of choice
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5-0.75 c add-ins of choice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Measure all ingredients except the add-ins into a food processor. Process just until a sticky ball develops. If you over-process, the nuts will start to break down and become oily (in which case the dough is perfectly fine to use, just a bit messier).
  3. Remove the blade from the food processor and add the chocolate and/or nuts and/or coconut and/or dried fruit. Mix everything together with a spoon or spatula until all the tasty bits are incorporated.
  4. Scoop balls of dough in whatever size you like. I prefer BIG cookies, so the ones shown here are each about 2 tbsp of dough. Smaller ones will work fine, and probably even bigger ones too, but you may need to adjust the baking time accordingly. Just keep in mind that these are pretty filling thanks to all that luscious peanut butter.
  5. Form the dough into a ball to ensure it stays together, then flatten it into a disk about half an inch thick. Note that these won't spread at all, so this is your chance to make them into whatever size/shape you want to end up with.
  6. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Because they won't spread, you can put them pretty close together if needed.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-18 minutes until they are just barely browned around the edges. They will still seem soft in the middle because the dates won't bake up the same way flour does. That's okay- they'll firm up a bit more as they cool.

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Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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