For The Week: Monster cookies, and a search for the best gluten-free pizza in MN

BMTN food writer Lindsay Guentzel's weekly column aims to make life in the kitchen easier.
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Gluten free pizza

I’m on the hunt for the best gluten-free pizzas in Minnesota and I need your help creating my initial list of places to try!

I cut gluten out of my diet almost two years ago. The night before I called it quits, I ate a ton of pizza – the good old-fashioned doughy stuff with a really chewy crust – and woke up feeling absolutely miserable the next day.

There was no test or even a conversation with my doctor. I had long suspected my body didn’t love gluten and that morning of misery was my final straw. I was done with it. And besides a few indulgences, like the po-boy sandwich I shared with my boyfriend in New Orleans, I have lived happily gluten-free since.

On Monday, I shared a photo of my Carbone’s pie – an extra crispy gluten-free Special with jalapeños – and asked for other recommendations on restaurants that offer a gluten-free crust. I was a little shocked by the results. So many people had places they raved about.

From Dave’s Pizza in Bemidji, to Randy’s Pizza Saluté in Oakdale, to Mario’s in Watertown. Looks like I will be putting some miles on my car in the coming weeks!

Have a spot you want to recommend? A place I absolutely have to try? Let me know! Email me at lindsay@bringmethenews.com or connect with me on Twitter or Instagram @LindsayGuentzel.

My World-Famous Monster Cookies

Lindsay monster cookies

While I dive into some pretty tough pizza research, I hope you’ll give these Monster cookies a try.

If you’ve ever attempted to bake with gluten-free flour, you know how tricky it can be. If baking is a science, gluten-free baking is molecular biology (or something intense like that). So while I got my feet underneath me in my new gluten-free world, I got to work creating a flourless cookie that was really easy to make.

A Monster cookie is the Frankenstein of cookies. Hence the name. It combines the best parts of all of the classic cookie recipes – peanut butter, chocolate chips, M&Ms and oatmeal. This recipe doesn’t use flour. It relies on the oatmeal to create a base for the cookie so it is soft and chewy all at the same time.

The trick with this cookie is making sure you give it plenty of time to set before trying to move it around too much. I like to leave the cookies on the hot tray for about five minutes after taking them out of the oven before moving them to a rack to cool. Letting it set on the baking sheet allows the gooey peanut butter to set just enough so the oatmeal sticks together and the cookie doesn’t fall apart.

Monster cookies 2

Ingredients

Recipe makes roughly 1.5 dozen cookies.

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup M&Ms

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare cookie sheets with cooking spray or parchment paper.

In large mixing bowl, whip butter and peanut butter together for two minutes using an electric mixer. Add brown sugar and vanilla extract. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine salt and baking soda with oats. Stir well. Slowly fold oats into peanut butter mix. Add eggs, scrape sides with a spatula and mix well. Add chocolate chips and M&Ms. Mix well.

Using a cookie scoop (I prefer a medium 1½ tbsp scoop size), place drops of cookie dough evenly across the baking sheet. Bake for 11 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and allow them to rest on hot pan for about five minutes before moving to cooling rack.

NOTE: A cookie scoop is not necessary but incredibly helpful because the dough is very sticky.

Have a gluten-free recipe to share? A restaurant I just have to try?

Email me directly at Lindsay@BringMeTheNews.com or connect with me on Twitter or Instagram @lindsayguentzel. 

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