Once upon a time ago, neighbors talked to each other. They helped each other out with yardwork or simple home repairs, they watched each others’ kids, and would invite each other over for dinner. New families would be welcomed to the neighborhood with a plate of cookies, and if you ran out of sugar you could simply run next door for a whole cup of it…
Does anyone remember these days? Did they really exist? Yes, well back then… or as they say, “BACK IN MY DAY” (because apparently I’m 100) there were these things called “block parties.”
Block parties were huge potlucks where the entire neighborhood would gather with various dishes and recipes in tow, and somehow these magical bite-size treats were always there. Probably because they are so incredibly simple to make.
I don’t know if block parties exist anymore… and I’m not saying neighborly love is a thing of the past, but I don’t even know my neighbors names… and I’m fairly certain that if I took a new neighbor a plate of cookies they would look at me like I was a crazy person. I’m not sure if it’s just something that has changed over time or just a regional thing (maybe the heat makes Arizona people less friendly than their mid-western counterparts?).
However, if you want to be brave and bridge that gap between your home and your neighbor’s, these cookies should do the trick. There is no oven required, which makes this a relatively kid-friendly recipe. I don’t recommend leaving your children in the kitchen unattended, but I managed to make these a number of times in my youth without burning the house down. In fact, the hardest part about making these cookies is waiting for them to set before you try to eat them.
Note: If it’s too humid or too warm, these cookies won’t set properly, which means you might find yourself attempting to scoop spoonfulls of peanut buttery, chocolatey goop into your mouth (and probably making a mess in the process). You could just put them in the fridge to set… but who has time for that?
[ Printable Recipe ]
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups quick-cooking oats* (see note for gluten-free option)
1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Whisk or stir in sugar, milk, and cocoa powder.
2. Increase heat and bring to a rolling boil, let boil for 1 minute 30 seconds.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, vanilla, and oats.
4. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper-lined baking sheets. (*see note)
5. Wait very patiently while they cool and harden. Store in an airtight container 3 days at room temperature or a week in the fridge. (They probably would keep for longer, but I’ve never had them last long enough to find out).
*These will set into whatever shape you drop them in. If you want them to be pretty, go ahead and make a perfect circle. Sometimes it’s fun to make little shapes out of them (heart-shaped cookies, anyone?), but they are equally delicious as an amorphous blob as they are in a perfect circle.
*If it’s too humid or too warm, these cookies won’t set properly, which means you might find yourself scooping spoonfulls of peanut buttery, chocolatey goop into your mouth (and running down your arms, probably a smear or two on your face). Or, if you can just put them in the fridge to set… but who has time for that?
*These can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free oats