Jan 4, 2014

A treat in Mom's Kitchen - No bake cookies!

Hello again!

As you may already know, we were back home, in Mexico City, for Christmas break.  It was a wonderful time with the family that we will treasure forever.

And just like when we are in the States and are asked about traditions, my inquisitive - and sweet-toothed - relatives were asking about typical culinary treats of the USA.  I immediately thought of No-bake cookies!  They are super simple to whip up, ingredients are easy to find and the recipe yields quite a lot of yummy bites for a bunch of hungry tummies!  :)

Now, before we start, I'd like to thank mom for allowing me to experiment in her kitchen.  It's always been me the one that messes up things; mom is not that into cooking, so I was in charge of things ever since I can remember!  I must also say that I rarely follow recipes - I rarely go to the drawer and take out the measuring spoons because I just do it my old good grandma way - a pinch here, a dash there, a squirt over here and so on and so for yonder and yonder...  OK, I should give mom kuddos for digging up recipes from the darkest corners of the forgotten kitchen book shelf and sticking to them to the T; she's been able to come up with pretty good stuff that kiddos are eating, so they must taste good.  Not sure whether I've been lucky and not been there for trying her food...  You got me!  This sounds horrible, but I'm not the only one known for not even coming close to mom's culinary experiments in the past.  We love so much momma!!  :)

OK... Going to the no-bake cookies.  Let's start with the original recipe that I found in a cooking card in my mother-in-law's recipe thingy:

 2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
  2 cups butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla 
2 cups rolled oats
Bring to a boil the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for 1 minute then add vanilla and oatmeal. Drop mixture by teaspoons on a flat, cold surface. 

This is what I call the standard recipe, but why stop there? Note that in the picture there are two "secret" ingredients - that's my experiment part!!  Peanut and hazelnut butter - YUM!  This recipe can also have one cup of either, just remember to add one cup of oats.  In other words, if you add 1 cup of peanut butter, remember to use 3 cups of oats for the batch.

So, here we go...  Add the butter to the pot; at this point, I like having everything medium heat, so that I can get a homogeneous mix without overcooking anything - this is CRUCIAL for the recipe to work! It's one of those chemistry-thingies that I find so interesting and would like to understand and explain to the full!  :)  

Add the sugar...

Add the milk...

Add the cocoa...

... and one cup of peanut butter (or hazelnut cream, a.k.a. Nutella).

Don't forget to add the vanilla extract (not pictured, sorry)!  Now, up to this point, I really haven't seen any major consequence about the order in which ingredients are added to the pot, as long as the heat is medium to low, and you make sure to stir so that you get a homogeneous mixture.

Ehem! May I draw your attention to the wonderful -and handsome- assistance provided by Mr. Fuzz?  He loves cooking, and he was not shy of helping out so that I could snap almost every step of the no-baking process for you to see...  Note how he likes to do it - taking the pot over to a burner that is not on and mixing before putting it back on the burner that has medium heat going on.  Look at that technique!!  The invisible hand to the no-bake-rescue!! Hehehe...

The next step is to be VERY careful and watch the mixture... Here is where the chemistry deal comes in!!  As the recipe says, you need to BRING TO boil the mixture, not BOIL it... Makes sense?  OK, let me try again... Watch for bubbles!!!  Just think of water boiling; bubbles start to form when it starts to boil.  This baby is no different; watch for bubbles starting to form (particularly in the edges) and move the pot away from the heat, or turn it off. The bring to boil moment is what makes all the ingredients bond and form a cookie that does not fall apart when you take it; in other words, this is what makes it all stick together!

Time for the last ingredient... And remember, I used 3 cups of oats because we had 1 cup of peanut butter.

With the heat OFF, start adding oats.  I found it works better if oats are added little by little, because it is easier to add them to the mix.

Keep adding and mixing...

... a bit more...

... looking good...

... and this is what you want to see! Everything looking even, but starting to come off the sides of the pot.

At this point, go get a helper or work super fast, because the mix cools quickly!!  Take a teaspoonful and drop it on a cool surface. What works best for me is using cutting mats - they are small enough to move to a table, large enough to drop several cookies and easy to clean!  What can beat that, huh?

Here they are!  Note that the ones on the large, white board are of a lighter color; those were made with one cup of peanut butter (and yes, an extra cup of oats).  The ones on the mats look darker because they have hazelnut cream.  You just need to be patient and let them cool down.  If you don't have this kind of cutting mats, alternatives are silicone baking sheets or baking trays.   

Here are the peanut butter ones all by themselves...

And here they are with their Nutella buddies...

... but they did not survive long! :) I hope you give them a try, they are easy and fun to make.

God bless!  :)


  1. Oh my granddaughter will love the ones with hazelnut ! Thanks.

  2. YW! I can picture you and your granddaughter making these together! :)