Inside: No bake oatmeal cookies are the classic chocolate no bake cookie you remember, made with or without peanut butter—even with or without oats. Naturally gluten free!
This is how to make perfect gluten free cookies…even if you can’t bake!
Recipes for no bake oatmeal cookies made with butter, milk, sugar, cocoa powder and oats have been around forever. Maybe your grandmother even made them, or your mother.
Christy Jordan has a version that her mother made for her that calls for boiling the sugar mixture until it reaches the “softball stage,” which is approximately 240°F. Trying my hand at a family recipe like that can be dangerous territory, since people tend to be rather protective of their way of doing things. (Everybody knows you do it like this, not like that!)
But as I went down the rabbit hole of Internet recipes for no bake oatmeal cookies (or chocolate or fudge no bake cookies, if you call them that), I noticed one thing for sure: whatever the recipe, whatever the proportions, there was always no shortage of readers who swore that the recipe, as written, simply didn’t work.
I believe that this is because of both a significant difference in people’s stoves (are you using electric or gas? does your stove run hot or cold?) and in people’s cooking equipment (are you using a heavy-bottom saucepan? how large is it? how evenly does it heat?).
And since this isn’t a recipe that you can use an objective measure to determine readiness (like a candy thermometer that reads 240°F, for example), it was hard to guarantee success. Until now. (you knew that was coming, right?)
I believe that my recipe for no bake fudge cookies will be successful every single time. And here’s why: I add no-bake insurance to my recipe in the form of … chopped chocolate.
When you are making anything that is no-bake, you need at least a portion of the recipe to be solid at room temperature. If you were cooking the sugar mixture to 240°F, you’d certainly have that. Against my better judgment (I knew it wouldn’t work!), I did try cooking the sugar mixture to that temperature.
And the moment I added the oats to the mixture, I had a bunch of unappetizing, crumbly candy. Just as I had suspected. In the most traditional recipe of this kind, if you overcook the sugar, the mixture is crumbly.
Undercook it, and the cookies won’t set up. But add chopped chocolate, and you’ve got yourself some insurance. Chocolate will always be solid at room temperature. See? Chocolate insurance is the very best kind of insurance anyway. Don’t you think?
If you’re partial to making these cookies with some peanut butter, you can add about 1/4 cup (64 g) to the recipe when you add the chopped chocolate. It adds nice flavor to these no bake cookies.
If you’re avoiding oats, even (yes!) gluten free oats, I have also made these cookies with 3 cups (90 g) puffed brown rice cereal in place of quick-cooking oats. It’s really a different cookie, but it does work!
Now, the recipe does call for quite a bit of sugar, so I tried making it with 1 1/2 cups, instead of the traditional 2 cups. The cookies did set up, but they were a bit softer at room temperature.
A few minutes in the refrigerator, though, and they were fine. If you’re looking for quick and easy, chocolatey, chewy no bake fudge cookies that never fail you, go for the 2 cups of sugar. And don’t forget that chopped unsweetened chocolate. You can never have too much insurance!