I was at least a teenager before I realized that no-bake cookies existed outside our kitchen at home. I remember discovering them at a cookie shop in the mall and wondering how the recipe got out. One reason for this is because we never called them no-bake cookies.
We called them California Cookies.
I don’t know why. I just know that after I learned the more well-known name, I started calling them no-bake too so that people would know what I’m talking about it. However, the other night when I was trying to come up with a dessert that wouldn’t require me to turn on the oven I reconsidered the name.
No-bakes are a great summer cookie because everything is done on the stovetop and then left to cool. Hmm…California kind of makes me think of warm weather and sunshine which makes me think of summer. Perhaps we should all be calling them California Cookies.
I would expect that many of you have had them before, but if you haven’t, these cookies combine chocolate and peanut butter with hearty oatmeal. That’s a favorite combination around here. In fact, lately I’ve been doing this type of combo with my morning oatmeal, minus lots of sugar.
I’m always playing with the ingredients for these. Back in December I made them with coconut oil, maple syrup and honey. I wasn’t thrilled with the result. The coconut oil worked, but this time around I decided to go back to butter. My real mission was to see if demerara sugar would give me the same result as the original white sugar.
The final call? I found my new California Cookie recipe! They turned out just like the original I had as a kid, but use the minimally refined sugar, natural peanut butter and old fashioned oatmeal.
The New California Cookie
1 cup demerara sugar
¼ cup milk
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup natural, no-sugar peanut butter
1 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a sauce pan, melt together the sugar, milk, cocoa and butter over medium heat. Bring to a boil (that you can’t stir down) and continue to boil for 1 minute.
Remove the pan from heat and stir in the peanut butter until melted and fully incorporated into the chocolate. Stir in the oats. Drop by the tablespoon onto the parchment paper, and shape and flatten slightly. Allow to cool completely and they will harden as they cool. You can speed up the process a bit by placing them in the fridge, but this will cause them to sweat a little. Once cool and firm, enjoy. Makes 12 to 15 cookies.
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