Thursday, October 17, 2013

Crunchy No-Bake Chocolate Cookies, Heavy on the Parentheticals

I’m kind of an idiot in the kitchen.  Oh, it almost always ends up okay, but I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have started making a dish, only to find out that I am short an ingredient or two.


A good cook would assemble her ingredients before starting to break eggs.


A better cook might take inventory the night before so she could plan her shopping trip.


I don’t usually plan too far ahead for dinner, but often it’s far enough ahead to make that shopping list and take care of things.  Dessert is another matter.  I don’t make fancy desserts all that often; chocolate is chocolate is chocolate, and no amount of dressing it up will be better than just a standard brownie or cake or chocolate chip cookie (unless it’s for a birthday, then I might go crazy and create something truly amazing while using every pan in my kitchen).  So my pea-brain apparently thinks I have staples for desserts always on hand because the desserts are always staples.  Follow?


I’ve been thinking about no-bake chocolate cookies for a couple of weeks now.  I don’t know why; I don’t even really like them.  The texture has always bothered me.  But I didn’t want regular chocolate-chip cookies (I made those two weeks ago) and I didn’t want brownies (I made these beet brownies last week) (yes, I know.  Beet brownies.  They were good, but a little too self-righteous in their hidden healthy nature.)  (Though Charles loved them, and I can’t get him to eat beets any other way, so I shan’t complain).  I wanted no-bake chocolate cookies for my chocolate fix.  And I convinced myself that the health benefits of oatmeal and peanut butter in them totally cancelled out the negative effects of the sugar and butter (rationalizing desserts is a skill I have perfected).


I got all the chocolate/sugar/butter/milk goo simmering on the stove, got my cup of peanut butter ready, and reached for the oatmeal.  I only had a cup left.  The recipe called for three.  Hmmm.  Typical, Amelia.


I rooted around in the cupboard to see what I could use to substitute because it was too late now.  Rice Krispies?  No, that would be weird.  Cheerios?  Nah.  Bread crumbs.  *Shudder*  Bad idea.  Aha!  I know!  Grape Nuts (or rather, the generic alternative, Nutty Nuggets, because Post Grape Nuts contain soy and I am anti-unfermented soy)!  Two cups of Nutty Nuggets later and I had something resembling no-bake cookies.  A bit gooier than normal no-bake cookies because I used natural peanut butter (the cookbooks will tell you that regular ol’ Jif with all the partially-hydrogenated oils is best, but I save the bad stuff for the cookies with no redeeming nutritional value, like peanut butter cookies), but still fine.  I let them cool because I have moderate self restraint.  And then I dived in.


Oh, delicious.  I think I just inadvertently solved the biggest problem with no-bake chocolate cookies: texture.  The Nutty Nuggets make the cookies crunchy instead of flaccid.  They are so good.  So good that it is 12:15 (lunch break!) and I realized that the only thing I’ve had to eat today: four no-bake cookies and lot of coffee.  My hands are a bit jittery, so I should probably eat real food now.


Crunchy No-Bake Chocolate Cookies


2 cups sugar

3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup milk

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups Grape Nuts (or Nutty Nuggets, whatever)


Mix sugar, cocoa powder, and milk in large saucepan.  Add butter and heat over medium-high heat until mixture boils.  Turn off heat and mix in peanut butter.  Add oats and Grape Nuts.  Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.  Let cool and enjoy!  These freeze really well!

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