Monday, April 13, 2015

dispatch from juneau: chocolatey no-bake cookies

Over the past few weeks, my days here in Juneau are spent in committee meetings, dealing with budget numbers, and figuring out just where to find the public lounge in the Capital Building (IT’S ON THE SECOND FLOOR, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL HOLY.  Why is this so difficult to remember when I’m in the building?!)  As a result, my appetite can be summed up in two words:  comfort food.

Hellllooooo????  What happened to "New Year’s Resolution" Heidi????  The one that was going to try eating vegetarian most days of the week, cut back on cheese, and hold the dessert?  The one that was going to try to fit back into her cute designer jeans that cost far more than they are actually worth?

I can’t find her.  She’s nowhere to be found (and frankly, neither are the jeans!)  She’s been replaced by "If It Makes Me Feel Good I’m Going To Eat It" Heidi.  I’ve met this Heidi before.  She made an appearance while studying for the bar, and again when she was buying a house.  I spotted her briefly the week leading up to an important oral argument in court.  But she’s overstaying her welcome right now.

In any event, the good news is that "Comfort Food" Heidi is cooking a lot these days.  She’s too hungry to take photos and post them, but she’s an awful lot happier when she’s in the kitchen!

Ok, enough of the third person voice.

I’ve spent a lot of the time in my tiny little Juneau kitchen lately, and it feels glorious!  Navy bean and ham soup, gnocchi with pesto, homemade ramen, and a delicious scratch bolognese recipe passed down to me from a friend whose family used to own an Italian restaurant in New York City frequented by Frank Sinatra.  (That one I hope to make again and post soon!)

Along with savory comforts, I’ve also been craving these chocolatey no-bake cookies.  My perfect little comfort food in dessert form. These treats are easily one of my favorite bites.  I think I’ve made them 3 or 4 times since I’ve been down in Juneau, and I figured it was time I shared them with others.  Many of you have certainly made these many times over the years, and they’re a classic for a reason.  For starters, they don’t involve the oven.  And for those of us who are slightly baking impaired (guilty), that’s a beautiful thing.  

My Dad was visiting in Juneau recently and, to my surprise, informed me that he’d never had a no-bake cookie.  He was extremely skeptical about them!  I could tell he figured this was simply one of Heidi’s goofy ideas.  Cookies should be baked, he thought.

After they had cooled sufficiently and were ready to eat, I handed him one to try.  He took one bite and his eyes lit up!  After he finished the cookie, Dad proclaimed, “For my very last meal, I want these cookies for dessert!”

In that spirit, I’ll likely make these cookies after the completion of the legislative budget process.  :)

Classic Chocolatey No-Bake Cookies

(Adapted from Add A Pinch)

1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into big pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick cooking oats

In a medium sauce pan, heat sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa powder over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add vanilla, peanut butter and salt, and mix well. Add oats and mix until fully incorporated. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a sheet pan covered in parchment or aluminum foil. Allow cookies to cool for 30 minutes.  Makes 2-3 dozen delicious little chocolatey bites!


xo H

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