Monday, July 15, 2013
No Bake Peanut Butter "Cookies"
Summer is zipping by. The last few months have truly flown. Things have been busier than usual around here. And exciting too! A lot has been going on...
Like, I will be starting a new job in a few weeks at my current company. :) It's a promotion (of sorts) and I'm very excited about the new role! I will miss my current team greatly, but am so ready (and a little nervous) for this step.
My family celebrated my Grandfather's 96th birthday in early June and I made a big cake (and dip) to feed 25 people. In case you're wondering, it was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. The cake turned out pretty good for an amateur.
Then, a couple of weeks ago I said goodbye....to the first new car I ever bought, way back in college. I had that car for 16 years (I guess I'm dating myself here)! Anyway, the car served me very well but it was time bid it adieu! It actually went to a good cause...we donated it to an organization that gives the proceeds to the troops.
And with a goodbye, I got to welcome a new car into the picture, which I LOVE! I ended up getting a hybrid...I couldn't resist the great gas mileage and opportunity to save a few bucks at the pump. When living in Southern California, this is a very good thing!
Then last weekend, I baked my second big cake in just over a month. My very close friend and her husband threw a big birthday bash for their sons and I brought along another chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (chocolate cream cheese frosting to be exact!)--this time to feed 40! I have to say baking the cake is the easy part....putting it together and decorating it is another story. But I'm getting better. The cake was a big hit!
And since I had a large captive audience at the party, I took the opportunity to test out the New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe as well. It did not disappoint. Definitely a winner and it may just be "the one". Unfortunately the cookies were all gobbled up before I could photograph them, so you know what that means? More cookies!
I have to take a moment to give a shout out to Hubby...he not only helped me get the massive 3 layer sheet cake put together, but he also scooped and baked off all the cookies because I was running out of time. Thanks Hubs! You're a keeper! ;)
This is the first weekend that things have settled down. And I'm ready for a brief lull in the all the excitement and activity. Other than the aforementioned cakes and cookies, I've done little baking in the last several weeks. In fact, I have been avoiding the oven. Mostly because it's too darn hot out. But a girl still needs her sweet fix. I thought this would be the perfect time to finally try a "no-bake" cookie recipe.
This version comes from the book Baked Explorations, where I've made a number of traditional "baked" cookie recipes. Like the authors of the book, I have a hard time truly classifying this as a "cookie." It's not so much a cookie. It is more in the confections/candy bar-esque category if you ask me. But, that doesn't make it any less tasty! The recipe title indicates this is a peanut butter cookie, but there is a pronounced chocolate element as well with the inclusion of cocoa powder. You all know how I'm a fan of chocolate and peanut butter together. ;) So this was a winner for me. And the oats bring in a nice chewy factor. It definitely satisfied my sweet tooth (a few times this weekend). The best part--no oven needed!
No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies
from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Yields 36 cookies
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Guittard)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and softened
1 cup chunky peanut butter (smooth can be used as well)*
3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan heat milk, sugar, cocoa powder and butter over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and stir constantly. Once the mixture is boiling, stop stirring and allow to boil for 90 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in peanut butter, oats and vanilla until fully combined.
Using a small ice cream scoop (about 1 1/2 inches wide) with a release mechanism, scoop out cookies onto the prepared baking sheet leaving room in between as they spread a bit. You can also use a tablespoon to drop the cookies onto the baking sheet. Once the cookies are cool, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill for an hour. Serve cold or you can also return them to room temperature. The cookies should be stored in an airtight container separated by layers of parchment paper for up to 3 days.
*You can also use natural peanut butter, but you will also need to increase the oats by 1/3 cup.