I kind of feel like a cheater. “Baked” Sunday Mornings implies that one would theoretically… bake. However, this week’s recipe for No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies is more “cooked” than baked, like caramel made on the stove. I must say that these chunky little numbers are the easiest cookies I’ve ever made in my life. They are not glamorous, nor are they show-stoppers on the dessert table, but it’s a great recipe when you need to make something in a pinch or if pressed for time. Many people seem to have a story about their grandmother making these cookies or some other nostalgic attachment; for me, they are a new concept never before eaten or attempted in my kitchen.
The name of these cookies is rather a misnomer in my opinion; they are actually quite chocolaty! The combination of peanut butter and chocolate is not my favorite; I love both elements separately, but I feel like they compromise each other’s respective decadence when blended together. (Yes, I’m aware that some peanut butter/chocolate enthusiasts may want to chase me out of town with pitchforks and torches for this view!) They are not my favorite BAKED cookie, but those who do swear by this combination will love them. My cookie taster wanted to eat the whole tray of ’em, so I’ll take that as a good sign. 🙂
The cookies took all of 30 minutes to make from start to finish, including the mise en place (measuring and prepping the ingredients). They are made by combining butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and milk in a saucepan and bringing the brew to a boil. I must say that I’ve never made a boiling chocolate mixture before– it was neat to watch it bubble and thicken like a cauldron of my very own special, bewitched potion!
Once the mixture had boiled for 90 seconds, I was instructed to take the pan off the heat and stir in chunky peanut butter, oats, and vanilla extract. (Have these ingredients ready and close by, as you will need to work pretty quickly.) The peanut butter and oats stirred in smoothly, with the peanut butter melting right into the chocolate. I added the vanilla last… oh, my. The aroma that wafted up from the pan was quite nearly intoxicating. That moment is going to stay with me for a while– it really was that wonderful. Vanilla is just about my favorite flavor, by itself or combined with pretty much anything. In contrast to my peanut butter/chocolate ambivalence, I think vanilla makes everything totally dreamy….
The cookies are then scooped onto a sheet pan with a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to cool, placed in the fridge for an hour, and… that’s it. When I first started scooping the “batter”, it was fairly thin and the cookies spread out a touch on the pan. As I portioned out the cookies, the mixture thickened slightly, so some of the cookies retained a scoop-like shape and did not spread.
As the cookies cooled, they lost their shine and firmed up; then they were ready to eat. Some of my Baked Sunday Mornings blogs are filled with woeful tales of burnt sugar, under-baked batter, or questionable dough; quite frankly, this week’s assignment was completely uneventful and devoid of baking drama. What do I do with myself?? *twiddles thumbs*
I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as texture or flavor, as I’ve never made a no-bake cookie. They do not contain flour, eggs, or leaveners– you know, the things that make a cookie, a cookie! Indeed, they do not have the typical chewiness of a regular cookie, nor do they have the usual texture. Instead, the oats provide a different type of chewiness that you can sink your teeth into, and the chocolate/peanut butter mixture holds them together, enrobing each individual oat. The chocolate melts in your mouth right away– probably my favorite feature of this cookie!
Note: Being that the ingredient list does not include flour or eggs, this is a great cookie for people with gluten or egg intolerance.
You can find the recipe for No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies at Baked Sunday Mornings, as well as the links to my fellow bakers’ blogs– check ’em out! 🙂