“Did you spend a long time making these?” my seven year old mumbled.
It took a mother’s ears to understand what he was saying because his mouth was stuffed full with one cookie while he was busy loosening another from the wax paper where it was cooling. I had just finished making a test batch of the cookies because it’s been a several years since I made the recipe.
“No, it didn’t take that long. And that’s also enough for you today,” I told him. The boy was getting his first taste of the traditional chocolate-oatmeal no bake cookies that most mothers have made for decades. It was a brand new taste to him and he was amazed when I explained the cookies were quick to make (about 30 minutes from start to finish.)
His amazement turned to disappointment when he discovered that his favorite new treat was definitely a “cookie” and not “oatmeal.”
The cookies will soon re-appear at our home. We will make mini-gifts, each containing 3-4 of the chocolate cookies wrapped in see-thru plastic wrap and then bound with curly ribbon.
The seven year old and I will give these tasty little gifts to plenty of our friends and acquaintances at Christmas.
If you’re one of the millions who are watching your budget this year, you and your kids can work together in your kitchen to make some of the smaller gifts you will be giving.
Fewer dollars will be spent from your budget. More time will be spent with your children. Plus, your kids will receive the benefit of understanding that making something with their hands and sharing it with other people provides its own reward.
Let your kids help with measuring, pouring, packaging and labeling. This is a great opportunity to hone their kitchen skills as well as pass down a few family traditions.
Here are two super easy recipes to get you started. These are easy to make and use ingredients you probably have sitting on the cabinet shelf right now.
¼ cup coarse salt
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup coarse salt
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
½ teaspoon dried tarragon
½ teaspoon dried chives
¼ teaspoon oregano leaves
Process all ingredients of either Option 1 or Option 2 in blender or food processor at high speed until mixture is very fine in texture, 30-45 seconds. Pour into salt shaker and cover top of shaker with small square of decorative cloth before screwing on cap. Add a Christmas tag identifying the contents as “designer” popcorn salt handmade by your special elf. Recipe compliments of National Presto Industries.
No Bake Chocolate Cookies
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup skim milk
1 stick margarine
4 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick oatmeal
Optional add-ins: 1 cup chopped nuts, 1 cup raisins, or 1 cup flaked coconut
Combine sugar, milk, margarine, and cocoa. Bring to boil. Boil hard (full rolling boil) for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. Add optional ingredient, if desired. Mix well until all ingredients are blended. Drop onto wax paper by teaspoonful while mixture is warm. Cookies will set up as they cool. The more air-tight these cookies are packaged, the tastier they remain. Yield: Approximately 3 dozen cookies.
Tips: Use quick oatmeal, not instant. Avoid making these cookies on a rainy day. They often will not set in very humid weather.
The traditional recipe for these cookies calls for peanut butter, but you will also get excellent results if you substitute either almond butter, chocolate-hazelnut spread, or soy nut butter.