Texas Monster Cookies

Everything is bigger in Texas.

Having spent my last six years in the Lone Star State, I have witnessed this proclamation ring true again and again. Texas may be the second most populous (after California) and the second largest state (after Alaska), but the pride of Texans is second to none. This is evident in the utmost importance of football, the state fair (see Big Tex pictured below), and the cultural fusion of America and Mexico into the greatest cuisine of all time: Tex-Mex, of course.

Despite my initial reluctance to adopt the Texas way of life in favor of my Kansas roots, I have slowly but surely fallen victim to the charms of cowboy culture. “Y’all” has entered my vocabulary, not just one but three pairs of cowboy boots have found their way into my closet, and when I have a craving for waffles, only my trusty Texas-shaped waffle maker will do the trick. As a tribute to my Texas transformation, I present to you the Texas Monster Cookie.

In some ways, the Texas Monster Cookie and I have a lot in common.

  • We both hail from Kansas. I based this healthier recipe on my mom’s original. Mama would double or even triple the recipe for summer trips to the lake, and we would always return home with an empty container. They are that good.
  • We both adore M&M’s. Anyone who knows me probably also knows that I have an endless supply of my favorite candy on hand at all times. These cookies are chock-full of the colorful little chocolate goodies. The plain M&Ms are my all-time favorite, but you can use any variety: peanut, peanut butter, mini, pretzel, dark chocolate–or a combination!
  • We are both healthy. Living a healthy lifestyle is important to me, and the cookies embrace the same philosophy by cutting flour, butter, and oil from their ingredient list and replacing some of the sugar with zero calorie sweetener.

Y’all, these cookies are seriously amazing. They are the softest, chewiest, most perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter you can imagine in Texas-sized cookie form. After your first bite, both Texans and non-Texans will agree: there is no way you can eat just one!

Does this mean I am officially a Texan now? If the state cookie is the Texas Monster Cookie, there is no place I’d rather be.

Texas Monster Cookies

Yields: 30 cookies

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup zero calorie sweetener (I like Swerve or Stevia In The Raw)
1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (or 1 cup brown sugar)
1 heaping cup peanut butter (I use crunchy)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup egg substitute (or 3 large eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup M&M’s (plain, peanut, peanut butter, mini, pretzel, dark chocolate—up to you!)
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the yogurt and the sugars. Add the peanut butter, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add the egg substitute and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined. Stir in the oats by hand. Fold in M&M’s and chocolate chips.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet by the (giant) spoonfuls and bake for 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring.

Servings: 30
Serving size: 1 cookie
Calories: 180
Fat: 8.7g
Carbs: 28.9g
Sugar: 7.8g
Fiber: 2.3g
Protein: 5g

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

I have a problem.

As I have revealed before, the number of bananas I buy every single time I go to the grocery store is superfluous. If I don’t have at least a few bananas hanging out on the counter, what happens if I eat one for a pre-run snack, slice one on top of my oatmeal, and then I get the urge to make my Banana Chocolate Chip Bread only to discover I am out of bananas?! The first stage of recovery is acknowledgement of the problem…

The second stage is a willingness to change.

I can never seem to get past this phase. This is why I end up with brown banana overload every week–and a weekly justification to devise new ways to use them.

This week’s invention: Double Chocolate Banana Muffins.

More like an indulgent dessert than a breakfast muffin, these muffins are a (healthy) chocolate version of a very moist banana bread made without any butter or oil. They are big, fluffy, and melt-in-your-mouth gooey–a perfect illustration of how food can be both healthy and delicious!

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Yields: 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Truvia Baking Blend (or 2/3 cup sugar)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I love Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup egg substitute OR 2 large eggs
1/2 cup chocolate chips, plus a few extra for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tin with cooking spray or use paper-lined muffin cups.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, beat together the bananas, yogurt, and eggs until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin tin about three-fourths full. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Like banana bread, these muffins taste best the next day and should be stored at room temperature.

Servings: 12
Serving size: 1 muffin
Calories: 170
Fat: 3.9g
Carbs: 35.9g
Sugar: 15.6g
Fiber: 3.1g
Protein: 4g

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut butter + chocolate = a match made in heaven.

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This combination in a healthy cookie? Count me in. These cookies are flourless and butter-free, and they taste amazing!

Another reason to love these cookies is that they are incredibly easy to make. They require 8 ingredients and a total of 30 minutes to prep, bake, and cool.

The base of these glorious cookies is the peanut butter. Feel free to use your favorite! I prefer the texture of Jif Extra Crunchy, but you could also use creamy. I reduced the sugar in the recipe by using Splenda Brown Sugar Blend. [Note: If you use regular brown sugar, be sure to use 3/4 cup rather than the 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons called for in this recipe.] The oats add a little texture, and the dark chocolate morsels tie it all together.

Soft, chewy, and perfectly peanut butter-y, these cookies are hard to resist!

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields: 16 cookies

1 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy, but creamy works well too.)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (Note: If using regular brown sugar, use 3/4 cup.)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Add the vanilla and the egg and mix on low speed until just combined. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips by hand. Eating a few chocolate chips while stirring is strongly encouraged.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cookies stay fresh stored covered at room temperature for 7 days–if they last that long! Cookies also freeze well.

Servings: 16
Serving size: 1 cookie
Calories: 165
Fat: 11.4g
Carbs: 13.7g
Sugar: 8.4g
Fiber: 2.4g
Protein: 5g