October 10, 2010

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

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Margaret's Morsels | No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies


I don't make dessert unless it's a special occasion or we have company. Sometimes, though, we want something sweet and -- more often than not -- chocolate.  When this mood hits, I pull out a recipe my mother gave me for Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies.


Chances are you've had these cookies or even have a version of the recipe.  These cookies are sometimes called "No Bake Cookies," "No Bake Oatmeal Cookies" and "Boiled Cookies."  I've also seen them called "Preacher's Coming" cookies.  This is an apt description because the cookies can be made and ready to serve to unexpected company in a very short amount of time.  Most of the recipes are similar, although some versions don't use peanut butter and some add additional ingredients such as nuts and raisins.


My recipe only uses seven ingredients.  All seven are staples at my house so I can make the cookies on a moments notice.  Although butter makes everything better, I use margarine.  I also use 1% milk, but you could substitute 2% instead.


Margaret's Morsels | No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

You need to work quickly when you make these cookies so it's imperative to have your ingredients measured before you start cooking.  It's also very important that you stir the mixture, especially when it's boiling.  If you don't, the mixture will scorch.  Not only will you have to throw it away, you might ruin a pan in the process.

Over the years, through trial and error, I've learned an important trick when it comes time to add the peanut butter.  Stir the peanut butter in the hot mixture until it melts.  Add the oats only after the peanut butter is melted.  If you add the peanut butter and oats at the same time, it's hard to blend the ingredients.


Margaret's Morsels | No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
This is what it looks like after the peanut butter is melted.

If you're in a hurry, you can drop the cookies on waxed paper with a spoon or cookie scoop.  I usually use a medium size cookie scoop.  When I do, I get 21 cookies out of one batch.

If you want fancier cookies, you can spread the cookies in a greased pan, refrigerate them and then cut them into the desired shape.  A quarter sheet pan is the perfect size for this recipe.  If you don't have one, you can use an 8 or 9-inch square pan.

Margaret's Morsels | No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
The quarter sheet pan is the one on the bottom.

Once the cookies are in the pan, put them in the refrigerator until firm.  It takes about 45 minutes for the quarter sheet pan.  If you're using a deeper pan, you'll need to allow more time for the cookies to firm up.  Don't leave them in the refrigerator too long or they'll be hard to cut.  The cookies have to be refrigerated if you're going to cut them into shapes.  If you let them firm up at room temperature, they crumble when cut.

From start to finish, the cookies can be made and the kitchen cleaned up in less than half an hour.  The next time you want a dessert that's quick, easy and oh so good, try making a batch of Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. Your family will thank you.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1 stick butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups oats (uncooked)

Melt butter; add sugar and cocoa.  Stir in milk; bring mixture to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and peanut butter; stir the mixture until the peanut butter is melted.  Stir in oats. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

© Margaret's Morsels

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