No secret I can get serious about my baking projects. I channel Martha, giddy at the sight of mise resting at the ready in the most perfect Type-A way, in matching bowls from my 10-piece set. I find it a fabulous challenge to constantly improve my technique, and marvel at how small tweaks in the process can drastically change the efficiency and outcome of a recipe. It's really no different than the husband's golf obsession. Baking as sport, if you will. But sometimes, after a dinner that took some doing, a girl needs her sweets in a way that requires nothing more than scooping, stirring, and a little heat. Something that she can practically throw together with her eyes closed. For such moments when the sweet tooth rules and the KitchenAid looks just so involved, I love to break out the kinds of kitschy recipes that are usually found in Xeroxed, plastic-spiral-bound church bake sale cookbooks or on the packaging of some baking ingredient.
Few things in life offer more instant gratification than the decades-old "no-bake treats" from the label of the Hershey's Cocoa can. All of the ingredients are probably in your cupboards right this second. You are moments away from having your house smell amazing and your belly sing with the sugary, chocolately goodness that only a Cold War era treat can bring. Trade your paddle attachment for a wooden spoon and enjoy this Awesomely Quick Treat Flash. Hooray!
Hershey's Cocoa No-Bake Treats
Makes 2-3 dozen
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place a sheet of parchment or foil on a cookie sheet.
Combine sugar, butter, milk and cocoa and salt in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a steady, rolling boil, like chocolately lava. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool for 1 minute.
Stir in the peanut butter until well-blended. Add the oats, peanuts (if using) and vanilla extract, mixing thoroughly. Quickly drop the mixture by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper or foil. Makes about 2-3 dozen, depending on how generous your spoonfuls are, of course.