As I was eating one of the granola bars I made last weekend, the combination of chocolate (thanks to B&G insisting on adding chocolate chips) and oatmeal reminded me of something. It took me a minute to figure out what it was. The taste was reminiscent of some cookies that I used to make with a junior high friend of mine. Her family called them ugly cookies, because, well, they were not very attractive to look at. But the taste? Fabulous. Chocolate and peanut butter, with some oatmeal to hold everything together. I made them at her house a bunch of times, but for some reason never wrote down the recipe for myself. It wasn't until I was in college that I encountered them again. My first husband Nate (then just my boyfriend) had a bunch of recipes from his mom. One of them was for something called no-bake peanut butter cookies. It wasn't until I actually made the recipe with him that I realized that these no-bake cookies were my old favorite ugly cookies!
These aren't traditional cookies, as you might guess from the title. They're more like peanut butter fudge, with some oatmeal mixed in. Not that that's a bad thing. You boil together sugar, cocoa powder, milk and butter, then mix in peanut butter and oatmeal. I did tweak the recipe slightly from the original that Nate had. I added more cocoa (more chocolate is generally good) and a little salt. I've tried making these with rolled oats instead of quick oats, too. It works, but I find that I have to add more oats, since the quick oats seem to bind the mixture better. I used to spoon the finished mixture onto foil, but now I use parchment paper since I have it around all the time.
The verdict? Brianna and Gillian seemed to like these, although they both complained about the oatmeal a bit. It does tend to give the cookies a very chewy texture at first. The oatmeal softens a bit by the second day, though. As always, I loved these, and Jamie agreed that it had been way too long since I'd made them. The only question now is whether to take some to work. I might have to, to remove the temptation of eating them all myself. =)
Ugly Cookies (aka No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies)
(adapted from Laverne Morrison)
400g (2 cups) granulated sugar
20g (1/4 cup) natural cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
110g (1/2 cup) milk
110g (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
130g (1/2 cup) smooth peanut butter
225g (about 2 1/2 cups) quick oats
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or foil and set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until no lumps of cocoa remain. Whisk in the milk, then add the butter. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a boil, then boil it for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the peanut butter, then stir in the oats. Drop the mixture by tablespoonfuls (I used my #40 disher) onto the parchment lined pans. Cool until fully set, 1-2 hours. Makes about 2 dozen.