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My friends call me the "grammar goddess." Really. ;-) I own a freelance writing, editing and tutoring business. Previously, I served three years as food editor for The Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, which kindled my interest in food writing. My other areas of expertise in writing include features, community news, architecture/construction and engraving/personalization. I have a frightening number of cookbooks and watch too many DIY, HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Antiques Roadshow (BBC and PBS versions) shows. And I tweak nearly every recipe I make.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chocolate and Peanut Butter No-Bakes

Do you have any idea how many recipes there are for no-bake cookies (the chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal wonders)? It seemed as though there were hundreds when I did a search last winter for a no-bake recipe to use in a cookie exchange.

One thing I realized, though, is that these marvelous temptations have way too much fat and sugar in them. I wanted to make something for my parents' 45th wedding anniversary.

So I checked out vegan chocolate no-bake cookies, again coming up with nearly 50 versions. The one I chose is on the Go Dairy Free website. The recipe I linked to was a success, despite my not completely following the directions and, in the first test batch, in yet another happy accident, I left out the chocolate. (Those taste a bit like oatmeal scotchies. In the second batch, I used agave nectar, rather than maple syrup. I found them a bit sweet, but that may be because those are the ones without chocolate.)

In both instances, I made a half batch and used natural, unsalted peanut butter. A few additional tablespoons of oatmeal was needed. I also adapted the cooking timing, based on prior experience.

I'd like to try these using less maple syrup mixed with water to make up the remainder (1/4 C. maple syrup, adding water to make 1/3 C). I found it a bit too sweet for me. Add the 3 T. cocoa to this recipe with the liquids and cinnamon, if you prefer a more traditional no-bake recipe. That's what I did when I used the cocoa and agave nectar.

Anne's No-Bake Wonders aka 45th Anniversary Cookies

These are the ones that taste a bit like oatmeal scotchies. I bet adding a little butterscotch flavor would make this even better.

1/3 C. maple syrup
1/8 C. vegetable oil (I use olive oil, but if you don't care for the taste, canola oil would be fine)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 C. natural peanut butter (you probably can use another nut butter, but keep in mind that if it's runnier, like almond butter, you will need a bit more oatmeal)
3/4 C. rolled oats (if you need to avoid gluten, use Bob's Red Mill certified gluten-free oats)
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine agave nectar, oil and cinnamon. Using a spoon, stir over medium heat until thoroughly combined; once it starts to boil, turn down to low heat and add the peanut butter and stir until thoroughly absorbed into the liquid, followed by the oats and vanilla. It should take about 3 minutes. It should be starting to be a bit hard to move the spoon; if not, add more oats, 1 T. at a time.

On a greased cookie sheet, drop rounded teaspoons of the cookie mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and cool in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.

Makes 9-10 cookies, but can easily be doubled.

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