Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gourmet No Bake Cookies

Ina Garten. Who doesn't love her? I mean, for chrissakes she goes by the nickname: Barefoot Contessa. How cool and classy is that? She's one of the few people on the Food Network that I can assure you, I'd eat whatever she cooked. She cooks delicious-looking, simple food that I always find myself saying... if I ever have a classy dinner party... I'm serving THAT.

The truth of the matter is that I have made quite a few of her baking recipes: cakes, brownies, etc and they've turned out wonderful. Off the top of my head, I know her spinach gratin dish is to die for and I remember a corn chowder recipe and the chicken with 40 cloves of garlic recipe being awesome, also.

She makes throwing a dinner party look so easy, effortless, and fun.

Lately on her show... she's been doing something called "Back to Basics" where she tweaks an old recipe with something new and amps up the flavor. It seems ridiculously boring and dumb, but I'm continually amazed how often I say... ohhhh shit. I never thought of that. I tip my hat to you, Ina.

The of idea of  "Back to Basics" is how I came up with the idea for a "Gourmet" No Bake Cookie. I mean, honestly folks.. how much more basic can you get than a No Bake cookie?

I knew I wanted to make my best friend, Stephanie a plate full of No Bake Cookies (aka Grandma Cookies) when she was visiting over Thanksgiving, but instead of just whipping up a batch... I went Ina Garten all over this recipe and tweaked it a bit.

Now, it's nothing crazy or out of the ordinary... I just added chocolate chips to the recipe (melted into the recipe), I used Dark Cocoa Powder instead of regular cocoa powder and used whole milk. And they turned out delicious. Definitely more chocolatey and decadent than your average No Bake Cookie. I made sure to pull them from the stove a little early because I like mine thin and tender (or even gooey, if I get lucky) instead of thick and chunky, but that's entirely up to you...

This is definitely how I'll be making them from now on... And Ina (Barefoot Contessa) you have my permission (the Barefoot Hillbilly) to use this recipe in your next show or book if you ever decide to go redneck and low-brow on us.

Gourmet No Bake Cookies (or, as I'll call them.. Fancy Dancy Grandma Cookies)
Recipe: written in one of my Aunt's 12 year old handwriting. Adapted by me.

The consistency of the no bake cookie that I enjoy is more like that of a praline. To achieve this texture, I gamble and just try to pull the pan from the stove before the full 2 minute boil. I'm sure if I were to use a candy thermometer I could get a much more accurate product everytime. But... I grew up with them turning out different every time, anyway. So... I'm used to that.

In my opinion, these are definitely superior to the original No Bake Cookie Recipe. So much richer and more satisfying. And dare I say? Classy enough for a dinner party?

1 stick of Butter
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup whole milk (or cream would work, too)
3 tbsp Hershey's Special Dark Unsweetened Cocoa
2/3 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Pinch of Salt
2 1/2 cups of Old Fashioned or Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
2 tsps Vanilla

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add sugar, milk, cocoa, chocolate chips, and salt. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately add oats, peanut butter, and vanilla.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a piece of aluminum foil, parchment paper, or wax paper.

Let cool and enjoy.