Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Cookie #1 -- Preacher Cookies

In 8th grade, I took a home economics class. The teacher was an older woman with brilliant white hair who taught me how to make buttermilk biscuits and Preacher cookies. In fact, when she couldn't figure out what to do with her class of mostly 8th grade boys (I don't know how I got stuck in that class!) she just let us make batches and batches of preacher cookies with government sugar and butter. I don't remember ever learning about the food pyramid, or how to eat healthily in that class, but the woman knew how to cook with butter and sugar!

A few weeks ago, a good friend from high school named Eric emailed me his family's recipe for Preacher Cookies. I was so excited! I live a state away from where I grew up and it's rare that I hear people refer to these particular cookies as "Preacher Cookies." Eric had no idea how much he made my day!

You probably know these cookies as "No-bake Cookies", "Stove Top Cookies", "Haystacks", "No Bake Oatmeal Cookies", "Boiled Cookies", etc... (If you have another name for them, I'd love to know what you call them!) But where I grew up they were called Preacher cookies. I have no idea why they are called that, but it just seems wrong to call them anything else!

What I've learned (from Eric's instructions) in making these cookies is that they are sort of a cross between fudge and cookies. I made homemade fudge for the first time this year! I never made it previously because I was intimidated with the process. All the fudge recipes I had looked at called for really crazy kitchen utensils like a candy thermometer. (Yes, that's crazy in my kitchen! -- It's another one-purpose instrument!!) So I never tried them. Then, earlier this month, I found an easy recipe for peanut butter fudge and I was instantly hooked! It was so easy! As I was making that peanut butter fudge, it dawned on me that the process was basically how those wonderful preacher cookies were made! Don't you love it when the cooking "light-bulb" turns on and you "get it?" I live for those moments!

So without further ado, here are Eric's awesome cookies. I love these at Christmas! Don't be intimidated by the instructions. These are not hard cookies to make, just make sure to boil the sugar and butter mixture for the right about of time to get the correct texture!

Eric's Preacher Cookies
free of gluten & soy (to make them dairy-free use non-dairy milk & coconut oil in place of butter)
shared by Carrie Forbes on
printer-friendly recipe

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup powdered cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla (opt.)
1/2 cup peanut butter (opt.)
2 - 2 1/2 cups certified gluten-free oatmeal

Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan until sizzling. Add sugar, milk, and cocoa. Stir thoroughly to remove any lumps in the mixture. On medium-high heat, stir constantly as mixture begins to boil. Boil additional 3-5 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and immediately add vanilla and peanut butter. Mix thoroughly. Add oatmeal and stir until combined. Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper and let cool for an hour before serving. (These cookies can begin to harden quickly, so drop them on the wax paper fast!)

Yields 1-2 dozen cookies depending on size.

NOTE: I altered Eric's recipe slightly in the amount of oatmeal used, the original recipe calls for 2 cups. I also added peanut butter and vanilla because this is how I was taught to make them! Eric's great tip is: If your cookies turn out too chewy, next time boil the sugar/cocoa/butter mixture la few minutes longer!
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  1. We call them "Haystacks", but we also put shredded coconut in there, then they stood up in pile with the coconut and I guess resembled haystacks a bit.

    I used to love them. I will check this against my family recipe and see if there are any other differences. Coconut is the only thing I can think of off the top of my head.

    Hope you are having a great day!

  2. We called them no-bake oatmeal cookies - pretty boring name, if you ask me. My husband's been trying to get me to make these with the gf oats for a long time now.
    Oh, my 18-month old son looked at the picture and said "mmm." I quite agree, Carter.

  3. SM -- I just thought of another name I've seen them called, "Cow Patties" LOL Isn't that appetizing!! I love coconut myself! I'll have to add that in next time! I wish Michael liked coconut! He doesn't like the texture! Yes! I'd love to know what your family recipes calls for!! I hope you have a great day too SM!!

    CASSANDRA -- That's what a lot of people call them around here! I thought it was so weird when I moved here and people called them something other than "Preacher Cookies" LOL Carter has good taste! I can tell already!! ;-)

  4. We call them no bake cookies too. Our recipe called for peanut butter as well. Either way they look delicious!

  5. This post made me smile. My kids grew up on these. I too learned how to make these in home ec class although my jr. high home ec class was back in 1972! We call the top of the stove cookies.

    My kids to this day love it when I make them and I've not made them since going gluten free. But I have two packages of gluten free oats on the way to me now! I am going to have to make them again and thrill my kids.

  6. YAY -- No Bakes! They sold those one place we went this week in Bloomington, but I didn't get any because I didn't know the origin of the oats.

    BUT I am making these this week. No BAKES....


  7. I've never heard them called preacher cookies - just "no bake cookies" which seems like a pretty boring name.

    I have been debating whether to shell out the big bucks for GF oatmeal - maybe this will tip me over the top.

  8. They're similar to the no-bake bars I posted about awhile ago! We call it "school fudge" around here. Go figure.

    And thanks for the prayers. They're needed!

  9. Jennifer -- "No Bakes" seems to be a very popular title for these cookies!! You are in the majority!!

    Gluti Girl -- I'm so glad this post brought back good memories! My mom-in-law calls them stovetop cookies too! I hope your kids will like them! Just a note: After making these cookies, I think I like them better with only 2 cups of oats instead of 2 1/2!

    Ginger -- No bakes it is!! That seems to be the popular title!! Let me know how yours come out!!

    Tamara -- No bakes must be the most popular title for these cookies! I hope you'll try them and tell me what you think! I totally think GF oats are worth it! (They are expensive though! i agree!!)

    Abby - I'll have to check out your no bake bars! I like the name you have "school fudge"! For some reason that seems appropriate!! You are welcome for the prayers! They will continue! ;-)

  10. Carrie-
    Looks real good! I love no-bakes too. I am out of town so not cooking as much lately. :( I miss my kitchen! Can't wait to see the cookie list.

    (Nat, I think I deleted this comment by accident the other day! I found it again though! I hope you enjoy the cookie list and you get back to your own kitchen soon! -- Carrie)

  11. Yummy! Oh and I was always told they are called Preacher cookies because they could be made up so quickly when the housewife saw the preacher coming down the road for a visit.

  12. Has anyone tried it with something besides butter? Maybe like "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter..." baking sticks? Or the natural shortening sticks? I love these, always have, and it's fun to make it a nudge healthier, even if it is still unhealthy. ;) I always use natural creamy PB and use TONS of it, plus tons of oats. If you use quick oats you can use more oats, but I can't find GF quick oats?

  13. If these use long cooking oats and you don't put the oats in until until you take the mixture off the heat, won't the oats be raw?

    1. Hi Melisa -- no, either type (the quick cooking, or regular rolled oats) work fine here. IT's hot enough when they come off the heat it will cook them as much as they need to be cooked! I've never had a problem doing that!

  14. These look great....but I can't eat even the GF oats and can't eat chocolate. How do you think they'd work with vanilla chips (Guittard are great) or pb chips and perhaps quinoa flakes?

  15. The cooks in my school made these a lot, and we called them "Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies." I made them at home a LOT, too, because I loved them so much. Now, as an adult with grown children, I know more about nutrition and what my body doesn't like. My body doesn't tolerate oats well at all, and I do not eat peanut butter, since a peanut is really a legume and should be soaked and cooked, not ground. When I make these cookies, I use Quinoa flakes instead of oats. It takes more, but it's good. I use almond butter in place of peanut. Organic butter, almond milk, and just a bit of honey instead of sugar. Ok, that changes the recipe substantially, and you have to be careful not to use too much honey, just enough to add a little sweetness. I've made these for other people who can't tell the difference between these and the original recipe. I may try these soon using Sweet Leaf stevia as my sweetener, using about 1/4 as much as sugar.