Today is Valentine’s Day. A holiday that, if I’m being honest, I’m not too keen on. I have a hard time getting behind a holiday that puts pressure on couples to be super romantic and makes single people feel bad about their lack of a relationship. I do, however, really enjoy the whole eating tons of chocolate part of the holiday. That part I can get behind. My boyfriend and I don’t exchange gifts or really do anything out of the ordinary for Valentine’s Day. Although, maybe I could get him to watch the new episode of The Vampire Diaries with me tonight by playing the Valentine’s Day card……….interesting. Anyways…..in the spirit of eating chocolate, I decided to be a good girlfriend and surprise my boyfriend with his favorite cookies, Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies.
These aren’t exactly the sexiest or fanciest cookies, but my boyfriend loves them. I’d actually never had one before dating him and my first experiences with the cookie left a lot to be desired. Most of the recipes I found were way too sweet (and that’s saying a lot coming from me) and the chocolate and peanut butter flavors got lost in the overabundance of sugar. Since these are Boyfriend’s favorite cookies, I knew I’d have to figure out a way to create a No-Bake Cookie I could love. I wanted something that downplayed the crazy sugar overload and let the other flavors shine through.
I found a great recipe in the book Baked Explorations that was almost exactly what I was looking for. It contained chunky peanut butter, which added a nice texture to the cookie, and used dark cocoa powder. The recipe was still a little sweet for my taste, so I dialed back on the sugar, added a little salt, and threw in some semi-sweet chocolate to up the chocolate quotient. The end result was perfect. It was a No-Bake cookie I could get on board with and, more importantly, my boyfriend loved them.
If you haven’t tried a No-Bake Cookie before or have had some bad experiences with them, I highly recommend giving this recipe a shot. It made me a believer in them. And if you need help justifying eating this cookie – I’m kind of a pro at that, so here you go……….oats have lots of fiber and are considered a “superfood,” whole milk has calcium which some say helps burn belly fat, and peanut butter has protein. I mean when you really think about, these cookies are pretty darn healthy. Like I said, I can justify just about any dessert. Hope you enjoy these cookies and Happy Chocolate Eating Day!!
Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
½ cup whole milk
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chunky peanut butter (do not use natural peanut butter – it’s too oily)
3 cups rolled oats
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and butter until the butter is melted and sugar is completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Once the mixture is at a boil, stop stirring and let boil for a full 90 seconds.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the semi-sweet chocolate. When the chocolate is completely melted, stir in the kosher salt and vanilla. Then stir in the peanut butter until it is completely incorporated into the mixture. Then stir in the oats. The batter might seem a little loose, but don’t worry about this (the cookies firm up once they cool).
Using a cookie scooper (size is up to your preference – I tend to prefer large cookies), drop the cookies onto the lined baking sheets. They will spread a bit, so be sure to leave some room between them. Let the cookies cool and then refrigerate them for at least one hour.
You can eat the cookies directly out of the fridge, but I prefer them at room temperature. Store the cookies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature or in the fridge (again your preference).