Friday, October 9, 2009

October Equals Autumn Equals Halloween Equals...


(Chocolate Friday!)

It's true! At least that's the way my mind works. And from my experiences in blog hopping, that's exactly the way a LOT of blogger's minds work! Seriously.

I have a bit of a dilemma today. I have to choose between the Daily Blog Review or Chocolate Friday. And I guess you know which one I chose. Obviously.

Chocolate is always gonna be top choice....

I thought I'd share a simple chocolate recipe with you today. It's simple, but tricky. Maybe that's why I associate it with Halloween. No, that's not the reason.

This recipe is called Boiled Cookies. It's all chocolate and peanut buttery goodness.
In one word? YUM.
I could eat these cookies until the point of illness. I mean, just sick from sugar and chocolaty richness. That's how good they are, ya'll. And I'm not the only one who thinks so! I can make these for a potluck or a bake sale or just because, and people go crazy. My daughter makes these for her friends and their parents are all There is NO way YOU made these!!!

I have seen this recipe all over the Internet and everyone has their own version. Some people leave the cocoa out and just do the peanut butter. (THE HORROR!) but I have never, ever done that, nor have I tasted anyone else's plain version. Maybe someday....not.

This recipe came from my Grandma. She made these as Halloween treats back in the day when you could actually get away with passing out homemade goodies to strangers. I wish I had a picture of a heaping plate of these, and even better, I wish I had a picture of my Grandma holding a heaping plate of these! THAT would be wonderful. Alas, I'll have to settle with just talking about both. *sigh*

My Grandma was a wonderful cook who didn't always measure ingredients or use written recipes, so I had to do a lot of guessing and adapting to come up with just the right mix. I've continued to adjust this recipe over the years, so you're getting the measurements that WE like the best. And now that I've started writing about these cookies, my daughter is frantically digging through a friend's pantry for cocoa! I may have pictures to add to this post after all!

Here's the recipe:

  1. 2 cups sugar
  2. 1/2 cup milk
  3. 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  4. 1/4 cup cocoa
  5. 1/2 cup peanut butter
  6. 2 cups oats
  7. dash of vanilla, if you have time
Add the first 4 ingredients into a pan over med-high heat, stirring continuously. Once it comes to a rolling boil, set the timer for 2 to 2.5 minutes. (Or you could use a candy thermometer, but I don't have one, never used one, wouldn't know what to tell you about that...)

This is the hardest part about these cookies. (Probably because of the candy thermometer issue...) I have found that most stoves are different, pans are different, and you just can't always get the right consistency by timing the boil. You really have to look at the mixture. When it loses it's shine, it's ready!

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Stir quickly! Add the dash of vanilla and the oats. You may want to add the oats a little at a time, and you may want more than 2 cups. More oats means more chew. We like more chocolate-less chew, kinda fudgy.

Once the oats are mixed in, drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto wax paper or oil-sprayed foil. Or, you can do like we do and just pour the whole pan out on the foil in a huge blob. I'm serious. You have to work fast to get this out of the pan before it starts to set.

You'll know right away whether you boiled it long enough. If the mixture is shiny, it will not set up and you'll have to eat it with a spoon. But it isn't really good like that.

And don't forget to call dibs on the pan. (Do NOT let that goodness go to waste!)

These cookies can be made with crunchy or creamy peanut butter, or you can add other nuts.
And you can even make it with instant oatmeal packets. If you're desperate.

Well, it looks like we'll be making some of these cookies later, so I'll come back and add some pictures. The blob isn't particularly pretty, but it's oh.so.delicious.
Okay, it's later and I'm back with pictures. So....is chocolate fail really possible?? My first batch was undercooked. It looked really undercooked so I adjusted the time for the second batch. But it was only slightly undercooked. Which means, you guessed it, the second batch was overcooked. Rats... Major disappointment. But, we're eating it, so technically that isn't failure, right? And it's good. Because it's chocolate. It's not great, but it's good.

Here's a photo of the first batch. Note the shine? That's how you tell it isn't done. It was so close! I could *almost* cut it into squares.

And here's a photo of the second batch. Notice the neat squares? When you pour it into a blob, you can cut squares and not have to rush through the whole spoon dropping. Also, notice the lighter brown color and dullness? Well, it's lighter because I didn't measure the cocoa and obviously shortchanged the mixture. But the dullness means you boiled a little bit too long. It should be a rich brown with a slight gloss finish....perfect. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

Until I can get back with pictures, why don't you visit Lisa at Stop & Smell the Chocolates? You can check out all of the other Chocolate Friday posts, and maybe even add one of your own!

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