Editors note: The Durango Herald will be testing cookie recipes from The Associated Press for the next few weeks.
Well share with you the successes and foibles of holiday baking. Well give you an anecdote and a success rating for each recipe.
By Nancy Richmond
Herald Staff Writer
How could I screw up a no-bake cookie, you ask? One that you cook just a few ingredients for, add the rest and plop them all onto a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet? Stay tuned, and Ill tell you.
This weeks creation was No-Bake Oatmeal Coal Cookies. I know a few folks in my world who are definitely getting coal for Christmas, so this recipe seemed keenly appropriate. It all started smoothly. I whisked to eliminate lumps. I gently melted butter for a few seconds before adding it to the mix for an easier transition. I measured sugar, cocoa and spices without incident and poured milk without spilling a drop.
I cooked these ingredients over my medium-high electric heat, stirring diligently and quite enjoying the Willy Wonka sort of chocolate concoction I was creating. I stirred the vat of simmering, sweet-smelling stuff, inhaling the intoxicating aroma, very proud of myself and maybe a tad too cocky at this moment.
Heres my advice to those who like to use your phone to text: Dont do it while baking. The recipe says to stir constantly, and by that they mean, hold onto that that spoon for dear life and dont let go for even half a second, because I did, and as quick as my texting fingers could type, my beautiful chocolate soup turned into a boiling, hissing, bubbling and somewhat frightening thing. I grabbed my spoon and furiously stirred, thankfully averting an inferno disaster. Whew.
Now all I had to do was add oats, peanut butter, chocolate chips and vanilla no problem. I blended all the ingredients in a large bowl to accommodate my doubling the recipe something I know my Herald cohorts appreciate to keep their Friday afternoon sugar buzzes going at full throttle.
I scooped the batter into round tablespoons and set them onto the wax paper. Done! I rechecked the recipe one more time just for yuks, and my stomach did a dreaded dip when you know something is seriously wrong. Really? Could I have messed up this simple recipe?
Did I really leave out an entire cup of peanut butter? I did, so in a rather panicked mode, I dumped four full sheets of dough balls that had already begun to set, put them back onto the heat and hurried to scoop another cup of peanut butter into the rapidly hardening mess.
The stirring was much harder this time. My arm hurt as I struggled to save my precious chocolaty coal. I battled that stiff mixture, churning and trying to commingle the cold peanut butter with the rest of the batter. I still have a knot in my back from this debacle, but I was able to preserve the cookies and again laid them to rest onto the wax paper. And there is a silver lining to this adventure I got to lick the bowl twice.
Success rating: My co-workers never knew about the almost peanut-butter-depleted disaster. Their repeated visits to the cookie plate, smiles on their faces and sugar-induced working pace that day told me all I needed to know.