No Bake ‘Comfort’ Cookies

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No Bake Cookies

It seems like everybody has this recipe, or some version of it, so this is probably not a new one for you. As a kid it was one of my favorites. I loved it so much that I did a cooking demonstration of the recipe for my 4th grade class. We were supposed to do an oral presentation and I thought what better way to a “viewer’s choice” award than through my classmate’s stomach.

We lived about a mile from school and my mother didn’t drive so I headed out in the morning with various cooking utensils, pre-measured ingredients and an old (very old) electric cook plate. The results? I didn’t burn down the school, (luckily) apparently none of my classmates were allergic to peanuts, there were no leftovers, and I got an A! Actually, the one thing I didn’t get my parents approval for was selling them at school at lunchtime. If I had, maybe I would have beat Mrs. Field’s to the punch. Darn.

If you like chocolate and peanut butter and don’t mind a cookie that is very sweet, you’ll probably give them an A too. They only take about 10 minutes to make. The calorie count? I know it, but do you really want me to tell you?

No Bake Cookies (about 10 minutes start to finish)

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup cocoa (I use Hershey’s)
1/2 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter (in my opinion there is only one and its name is Skippy!)
3 cups quick oats

 (Before beginning to cook place a couple newspaper pages on the counter and cover with waxed paper or parchment paper.)

¬†Combine sugar,milk,cocoa, and margarine in a large saucepan. Heat on low until margarine is melted. Turn up the heat and bring mixture to a boil. Boil ONLY one minute. Overcooking will result in a crumbly cookie (undercooking will result in spoon candy which is actually pretty good but won’t hold a cookie shape and must be eaten out of a bowl!). Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Mix well and drop by soup spoons onto the waxed paper. Allow to cool (though these are excellent warm!) and store in an airtight container.

Not so restful waiting.

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bronze hands, Berkeley

There has been very little resting but my hands are trying to quietly wait until the studio is set up again, there is peace in the house (change that to reduced chaos in the household because, let’s be realistic!) and I can once again focus on art.

Summer is flying by, the vegetable garden is in full swing, though the tomatoes are being stubborn little buggers and we’ve only picked two ripe ones so far! The plants themselves are immense and loaded with green tomatoes but so far, no huge bowls of fresh tomato and basil pasta, my version of caprese salad except with pasta. Last year I canned a great relish using the end of season green tomatoes so even if they don’t ripen I still have something to look forward to!

For those of you who DO have fresh ripe garden tomatoes right now the recipe below is what I do with them. No store bought tomatoes for this recipe unless you are lucky enough to have a store that sells fresh from the farmer. If you don’t have a garden try one of the Farmer’s Market vendors. It also makes a huge difference if you use a rich balsamic and extra virgin olive oil. I don’t go crazy expensive here, but I try to get ones a cut above what I use for cooking.

Caprese Pasta

3 pounds sweet tomatoes, peeled and cut into pieces*
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. high quality balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. high quality olive oil
1/2 cup loosely packed diced fresh basil leaves
1 pound penne
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated (you can also use slices of fresh mozzarella but I like having the cheese in every bite!)

Toss the tomato pieces and garlic in a bowl with the vinegar and oil. Add basil.Chill.

Cook the pasta al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to chill. Toss with the tomato mixture and add salt and pepper to taste if desired.

I like to serve this chilled. I refrigerate the tomato mixture and pasta separately then toss before serving. Great served with a good french bread to soak up the juices. Enjoy!

*Sometimes if my tomatoes aren’t as sweet as I like I add a touch of sugar to them.