Meatless Monday–Cookies

This weekend our church will host The BIG Sale!!  We call our annual rummage sale “The BIG Sale” because 1. this is a BIG sale.  2.  the name of the church is too long to put on the signage that we put out on the highways, byways, and cow paths of our community in order to advertise the sale.  Instead of writing it all out, we simply put BIG SALE on the signs, along with the dates.  Folks know what we mean.  We’ve been doing this for a while.

Part of The BIG Sale effort includes selling home-made baked goods and other foods that people can enjoy at the sale site.  We depend on the congregation to provide the goodies for the Bake Sale, so I’m baking cookies and donating them for the cause.

Rather, I’m no-baking cookies. 

I thought I would share my quick-n-easy recipe for peanut butter no-bakes as my Meatless Monday recipe for today. The hubs LOVES these and licks the pan clean every time I no-bake them (prolly why he saw high cholesterol levels on his most recent blood work results).

000no bakesFor this recipe you will need: sugar, butter, milk, peanut butter, vanilla, oatmeal, a sheet of tin foil, a kitchen timer, a touch of no-stick spray or butter to coat the foil, a medium sauce pan, and a spoon for stirring, but only when instructed to stir.  You’ll see why later.

Here are the ingredients and my no-baking method, in the order that I use them when making this recipe.

Into a medium sauce pan place:

2 cups sugar, I most often use white, but I have used raw sugar too.

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into chucks or slivers

STIR, then light the burner under your pan. 

Note:  Do NOT stir the cookie mixture while it is cooking. If you do, your cookies will set up too quickly and you will have a mess on your hands when trying to get them out of the pan and onto the foil for cooling.  Stirring while cooking affects the sugar crystals and ruins the “batter”.  Stirring while cooking also slows down the boiling process, so resist that urge to stir. NO stirring after initial cold stir, and until the sugar base is done boiling and other ingredients need to be added.

Once sugar mixture reaches a rolling boil (meaning the boiling liquid looks like a bog of hot bubbles dancing across the surface of the brew), set your timer to 3 minutes.  Still, no stirring. Not yet.  Let it boil hot for the full three minutes, then turn the heat off beneath the pan.

Once heat is turned off, add the following to the hot sugar mixture:  1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and 2 or 2-1/2 cups of uncooked oatmeal. 

I love steel cut oats for this recipe, because they provide incredible texture and a tiny bit of health to the treat.  I usually start with 2 cups of oats and see how it feels. If I think more oats are needed to create a firmer cookie, I add the other half cup of oats. Most recipes call for 3 cups of oats, but I feel like that knocks off the sugary peanut butter-to-oatmeal ratio that is so important to a good peanut butter no-bake cookie.

Nobody wants to eat a peanut butter no-bake that tastes too heavy of oats. 

Note: When adding the vanilla, the sugar mixture will bubble up, so be careful.  And by the way, this is probably not a recipe you want to try with kids around. This liquid gets 3rd-degree-burns level hot, so best to keep the kiddos in the other room while you’re doing this.  Also, make sure all peanut butter is stirred into the hot mixture before adding your oats.

Yes, you can now stir the cookies. Yeah!

I know it was hard to wait for this step, but wait no longer. 🙂

Once the oats are added, you can stir a wee bit more to combine ingredients and begin spooning out your hot cookie “dough” onto an oil sprayed or buttered sheet of tin foil.  Depending on how big you make the cookies–I make them small–this recipe will yield 12-16 yummy bits of no-baked goodness.

Let them cool, then enjoy!