It’s easier than placing pre-made cookie dough on a baking sheet, trust me.

Photo: Zoe Denenberg; Prop Stylist: Rachel Mulcahy

The first time my mother made these crystallized sugary cookies, I couldn’t help but eat the entire tin of them. These nut-free, pecan praline look-alikes would rarely last more than two days in our house. I would have one for breakfast with my coffee, one at lunch, and one for dessert after dinner. I grew up eating these all the time—it was the one cookie recipe that my mom simply perfected. My Grandma Barb has passed down this recipe to my mother and now me; it’s a generational recipe that I instinctively crave every holiday season. On chilly nights when all there was to do was to eat a bowl of chili and turn on classic films, we always baked these simple treats.

 

So naturally when the Southern Living cookie swap came about, I had no choice but to create these unique cookies. To set the scene, I lined all my ingredients in a row (which is a time-saver when you’re stirring the sugar). When you’re mixing the butter with the sugar and milk, make sure to bring it to a complete boil. The mix should rise exponentially in size and look similar to a foam. Once it’s boiled, turn the heat down to a low-medium variety for 2 to 3 minutes, while stirring occasionally.  Then add in chocolate. My personal preference is the more chocolate the better, so I used four squares of semi-sweet baker’s chocolate. I spent time mixing in my chocolate with the butter-sugar mixture (around 2 minutes), to make sure all the elements adhered. Next, add in the oats and vanilla. Make sure to stir it well—the consistency should resemble oatmeal or grits. If the mixture seems too runny, add in more oats and keep the pot on low heat. It’s important to pay attention to detail while making these sugary treats, but luckily that’s only a whole ten minutes. Line the counter space with waxed paper and measure a spoonful onto the paper. They harden in less than thirty minutes, but I usually wait an hour or two for good measure. Don’t be surprised if there are a few missing spots on the waxed paper—some can’t wait for these irresistible treats.

 

This easier-than-pie recipe calls for only 6 ingredients, and best of all, they’re no-bake. I certainly don’t take the word ‘easy’ lightly and trust me, I cut corners whenever the opportunity presents itself. But this recipe is easier than taking out pre-made cookie dough and slapping it on a baking sheet. The amount of time I saved baking and could then dedicate to other activities was astronomical. I watched a Hallmark movie, cleaned the house, and made two batches, all while my roommate frosted a couple of her intricate and beloved sugar cookies. Clearly this recipe is for the busy bee that still wants to bring homemade treats to a holiday party. Not to mention the steps make you feel like a chocolatier extraordinaire, while in actuality you’re just stirring a pot of chocolate.

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These cookies are guaranteed to melt in your mouth and crumble with sugary flakes.  This recipe is one-of-a-kind and deserves an appearance at any holiday cookie swap.  While unknown to most at the beginning of the party, guests will have the recipe memorized by the end of it. My grandmother only recalls one recurring memory of these cookies—that they’re gone within seconds. The decadence of these cookies matched with the time you’re saving is a win-win situation in my book.

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