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Before I researched this post, part of my tribute to my mother-in-law and her fellow 1950’s housewife cooks, I had a sneaking suspicion that one could trace the emergence of “no bake” cookies to coincide with the arrival of processed convenience foods. I was both right and wrong!

Foodtimeline.org says recipes for no bake cookies emerged around the time of the depression, using ingredients like butter, honey or sugar as glue to keep the ingredients together.  But in the 1950’s, the category exploded as products like margarine, Crisco, and their counterparts hit the market.  The whole no-bake catergory is so fascinating, I actually could easily do a whole series on no-bake cookies (comment if you’d be interested in that!)

But I digress. My husband tells me these cookies were a staple in his mom’s kitchen (he is not a fan!). But my girls and I LOVE them.

Don’t be afraid when you’re mixing them together-they appear to be too runny to ever stick together and form a shape. Have patience, they will bind and you’ll have a delicious treat that doesn’t require you to turn on your oven.

Cooking the ingredients in a pan!

Cooking the ingredients in a pan!

Bringing it to a boil...

Bringing it to a boil…

Adding oats and peanut butter...

Adding oats and peanut butter…

And on the pan to set up. They look runny but don't worry!

And on the pan to set up. They look runny but don’t worry!

2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 stick margarine or Crisco (8 tablespoons)
1/c cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups oats
1/2 cup peanut butter

Place waxed paper on a surface nearby for cooling the cookies.

Combine the sugar, cocoa powder, margarine or Crisco, milk and vanilla in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Boil for one minute. Add the oats and peanut butter and stir until well combined.

Drop by the spoonful onto the wax paper and allow to set up (about one hour, longer if the weather is warm. You can put them on cookie sheets into the frig to speed the process).

Delicious, like a peanut butter cup!

Delicious, like a peanut butter cup!

Serve and enjoy!