This is an old recipe but is still as good as when I first tried it nearly fifty years ago. It has been a family favorite since my children were young. (The oldest is now fifty-five and she and her sister now make them for their families.) The recipe is quick and easy to make. It might be considered a cross between a cookie and candy. Whichever you want to call it, it is yummy. The recipe was one of my mainstays while serving in the Peace Corps in Ukraine. My colleagues liked the cookies, too. There are never any left to bring home when there is a shared food gathering.
First, lay out a sheet of waxed paper. This needs to be done first because once you start cooking the sugar mixture you will not have enough time to do this.
In a large bowl put:
3 (three)cups of quick cooking oatmeal
3 to 4 (three to four) tablespoons of cocoa
1 (one) cup coconut and/or
(one half) cup chopped nuts (I usually use pecans, but walnuts or other nuts of your choice may be used)
(one half) cup peanut butter
(one half) teaspoon vanilla
In a medium sauce pan put:
2 (two)cups of sugar
(one half) cup of butter
(one half) cup of milk
Bring the mixture of sugar, butter and milk in the saucepan, to a rolling boil. Turn the heat down to medium and boil for exactly 2 minutes stirring constantly so it won’t burn. Remove the pan from the heat and add the peanut butter and vanilla. Quickly beat well, add to the oatmeal mixture and mix well. This recipe sets up fast so as soon as the mixture begins to get to the proper consistency, drop by teaspoonfuls onto the waxed paper. Allow the cookies to cool if you can wait that long – and eat. Store left overs in the refrigerator. Makes about 50 small cookies.
You can experiment with different items to add to the cookies such as raisins, dried cranberries, etc. I have also used chunky peanut butter and not added any other nuts. If you would rather, you may use a candy thermometer and bring the mixture to a soft ball stage. Do not overcook or the mixture will be crumbly and not hang together nicely.
While in the Ukraine I often used muesli instead of oatmeal because that was easier to find in the stores. It had nuts and raisins in it. I haven’t used granola but a cereal of this consistency might also work. Another note, do not try to cook the sugar and milk at too hot a temperature because it will stick and may even burn.
When you need a quick dessert or your child comes home from school and says I need 4 dozen cookies to take to school tomorrow, try this recipe. Your child will be the hit of his class.