Quick, easy treats with no oven necessary

The secret to perfect No-Bake Cookies is one minute of a rolling boil.

When I was teaching food classes, the very first recipe my students would prepare were No-Bake Cookies.

These cookies from twopeasand­theirpod.com taught my students the importance of mise en place (having your correct utensils and ingredients measured before you start cooking) and following directions.

Only eight ingredients are needed to make these cookies. The first is butter, and do use butter instead of margarine, as they will taste better. Any kind of milk will work in this recipe – whole, 2 percent, 1 percent, skim or even a non-dairy milk such as almond or soy milk. I used skim milk for my cookies. Granulated sugar is used to sweeten them and assists with the set up and unsweetened cocoa powder adds the chocolate flavor. I prefer to use creamy peanut butter, but crunchy will work.

If you have a nut allergy you can use almond butter or even sunflower seed butter. Vanilla extract gives a bit more flavor to the cookies along with salt. The last ingredient is quick-cooking oats. If you only have old-fashioned oats, pulse them in a food processor. The smaller oats help hold the cookies together. You can prepare these cookies with gluten-free oats.

Before you start, make sure all your ingredients are measured and ready to go – read the recipe completely before starting. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. You will need these already prepared because as soon as you stir in the oats, you will immediately place them on the baking sheets to set up.

Place the butter, granulated sugar, milk and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat (you will be tempted to use a higher heat but don’t), bring this mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.

This next step is very important. Once it’s at a rolling boil (bubbles from the center all the way to the edge), boil for one minute. I set my timer for one minute as soon as the rolling boil begins. Once the timer goes off, immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in peanut butter, vanilla and salt.

Stir until the peanut butter is melted and smooth, then stir in the oats.

I use a one-inch cookie scoop to drop this mixture onto the prepared baking sheets. If you don’t have a scoop, drop them by the tablespoon. Let these cookies cool and hardened which takes about 25 to 30 minutes.

These cookies need to be stored in an airtight container and are good for three or four days.

If your cookies are sticky and gooey, then they were not boiled the full minute once the rolling boil occurred.

If the cookies are dry and crumbly, they were boiled too long.

Some people call these “Preacher Cookies” because they can be made so quickly that a person could look out the window and see the preacher coming for an unexpected visit. By the time he got to the house, the cookies would already be cooling.

No-Bake Cookies really are as easy as they sound. They are perfect anytime of the year, but especially in spring and summer when you don’t want to use the oven. Just make sure to follow the rolling boil rule and everyone will enjoy this sweet treat.

It’s a recipe that will be requested again and again.

Classic No-Bake Cookies

½ cup butter cut into tablespoon pieces

2 cups granulated sugar

½ cup milk

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups quick oats

Line two large baking sheets with parch­ment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Place butter, granulated sugar, milk and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil – boiling around the edges and in the middle – let it boil for one minute.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the peanut butter, vanilla and salt. Stir until peanut butter is melted and smooth. Stir in the oats.

Drop spoonfuls of the mixture (about 1 tablespoon per cookie) onto the prepared baking sheets and let sit at room temperature until cooled and hardened, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Cherie Mingus is a retired teacher who taught family and consumer sciences at Central Hardin High School. She can be reached at cheriemingus@gmail.com.

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