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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday Recipe - No-Bake Cookies, or Gorilla Poops

I started cooking when I was nine. I distinctly remember my first batch of cupcakes from scratch. They looked odd and tasted funny, but I was so proud of them. My family grumbled a bit but ate them anyway. Later, I realized I'd mistaken 3 t. to mean 3 tablespoons. Three times too much baking soda equals not good cupcakes. Hey, I was nine.

Adventures in cooking continued. As a teen, I went on a weird cookie spree, trying out any and every recipe I had. Food coloring was my friend. The one cookie I've never really mastered? No-bake cookies. Despite careful measuring and stirring and cooking, I have no idea if they'll turn out soft and chewy or hard and crumbly. After one particularly crumbly, messy batch, I gave up trying to make it form cookies and just dumped the entire pot onto a cookie sheet in one big pile.

"What kind of cookie is that?" my sister asked.

"Elephant poop." And so the line of poop cookies were born.

(BTW, when these cookies turn out dry and crumbly, they make excellent ice cream topping or the basis of chocolate oatmeal for breakfast, just add some water and microwave for a minute or two.)

Gorilla poops are normal no-bake cookies. Elephant poops are when you're tired of scooping or it doesn't work so you dump the entire batch in one enormous cookie. Monkey poops are the peanut butter variety. Orangutan poops are chocolate AND peanut butter. Chimpanzee poops have extra goodies added. Are you sensing a theme here? Good, go make some gorilla poops for your kids.

Gorilla Poops

3 c. oatmeal, quick cooking if you've got it
1/2 c. coconut
1/2 c. butter
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk or water
1/3 c. cocoa
1 t. vanilla

Mix oatmeal and coconut in a large mixing bowl, set aside. Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add sugar, milk, and cocoa. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. We're talking a rolling boil here that you can't stir down. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, then pour over oatmeal mixture. Stir quickly to coat the oatmeal. Scoop by teaspoons onto waxed paper. Cool for at least 15 minutes. If it's way too sticky, serve it on a spoon and call it spoon cookies. If it crumbles, make it into an elephant poop and serve over ice cream. If it turns out right, pat yourself on the back.

Monkey Poops - Omit cocoa. Reduce butter to 1/4 c. Add 1/2 c. peanut butter with the vanilla.

Orangutan Poops - Make Monkey Poops but leave in the cocoa.

Chimpanzee Poops - Reduce oatmeal to 2 c. Add 1 to 1 1/2 c. of whatever you want to the oatmeal mix. Suggestions - dried cranberries or cherries, mini-marshmallows, nuts, m&m's, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, crispy rice cereal, cheerios, fruity pebbles, captain crunch berry cereal, chow mein noodles, etc.