No-Bake Chocolate Cookies With Oats Travel Great For The Holidays

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One minute can be the difference between success and disaster in the kitchen.

An extra minute means a cheese filling turns from toasted brown to burnt. Ditto for the buttered bread sides on a grilled cheese sandwich. Wait 60 seconds too long to turn over, and I put the sandwich charred side down on my daughter’s plate, hoping she won’t notice.

But, being short for a minute means the difference between an undercooked mushy banana bread and a just right soft medium. The same goes for crunchy veggies that needed an extra minute of steaming or sautéing to still be firm but cooked through.

One more minute of baking time in the following recipe for boiled chocolate cookies in “Typically Texas Cookbook” (1970, reprinted 1989) made the treat better than a similar recipe on the same two-page page. The Texas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. produced the cookbook, and my original favorite recipe is attributed to Mrs. Rodney L. Stephenson of Leander.

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Both recipes require the same amount of basic ingredients that are boiled together: sugar, milk, and oleo (an old term for margarine). But, the boiling time was two minutes for one and a half that of the other.

They also had the same amount of peanut butter, but varied slightly in cocoa and oats. The recipe with less oats made up for the shortfall with the addition of flaked coconut. And, the recipe I liked after trying both called for vanilla, something that wasn’t included with the second.

It turns out that the extra minute of boiling the sugar mixture helped the other ingredients solidify. The cookies in the longer baked mixture hardened as it cooled on the baking sheet on the kitchen counter, while the other batch remained slightly softer when brought to room temperature as it cooled. They became firmer when cooled in the refrigerator.

The recipe below makes a cookie closer to a praline, the oats making it bigger. The cocoa mixed with the other ingredients makes the cookie even richer.

These cookies are addictive and travel well, so consider them when you need dessert for a family reunion or group potluck. An added benefit is that they are gluten free.

My recipe updates are to cut the ingredients in half for a smaller batch and replace the oleo with butter. I also clarified the directions.

Share your favorite recipes or historical food-related memories by emailing Laura Gutschke at [email protected]

Boiled chocolate cookies

Boiled chocolate cookies

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup milk

1 cup of sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

instructions

1. Measure the ingredients to have them ready to use before you start because the last step requires working quickly. In addition, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, melt the butter. Stir in the milk, sugar and cocoa. Keep stirring until the sugar mixture comes to a boil. Boil for exactly 2 minutes, stirring continuously.

3. Remove the pan from the heat. Working quickly, stir in the peanut butter, oatmeal and vanilla. When the mixture is well combined, drop by spoonfuls on the prepared baking sheet. Makes approximately 24-28 cookies.

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Laura Gutschke is a general assignment journalist and food columnist and manages online content for The Reporter-News. If you enjoy local news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.

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