Tasty Thursday

Filled with delightful treats to share with friends and family throughout the year, this sweet treat from Cookie Swap by Julia M. Usher is just one of MANY fabulous recipes!

No-Hassle, No-Bake Oatmeal Fudge Cookies
Another wise addition to your after-school repertoire, these creamy no-bake cookies go from mixing bowl to mouth in about 30 minutes. Note: It is especially important to have all the ingredients measured and prepped before you start mixing. Once you reach Step 3, you will need to add ingredients quickly before the mixture begins to get firm.

Prep Talk: Though not essential, a candy thermometer is helpful in Step 2. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week, or in the refrigerator if you prefer a firmer consistency.

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened non-alkalized cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups quick-cook oats
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup pecan halves, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

About 2-1/2 dozen pecan halves, lightly toasted (for topping)

1. Line two or more cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine the sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and salt in a medium (3-quart) nonreactive (stainless steel or coated) saucepan. Place over medium to medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil, stirring as needed to make sure the butter has completely melted by the time the mixture boils. Boil about 2 minutes longer, or until the syrup just registers 238 to 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Stir as needed to keep the mixture from scorching on the bottom of the pan. (Avoid boiling longer than specified, or the resulting mixture will harden very quickly and become crumbly and difficult to scoop.)
3. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the cocoa powder, whisking to break apart any lumps. Whisk in the peanut butter and vanilla extract; then stir in the oats, raisins, and pecans. (The mixture should be shiny and loose at this point.)
4. Work quickly to scoop all the dough while it is still loose. (If the dough begins to set as you scoop, the resulting texture of the cookies will be crumbly.) Portion the dough into mounds using a level 15/8-inch (#40) scoop or 1 heaping tablespoon per mound. Place the mounds about 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Top each cookie with a pecan half and press gently to flatten the cookies to about 2 inches in diameter.
5. Freeze the cookies 15 to 20 minutes, or until completely set. (Alternatively, place them on the counter so the kids can watch them turn into fudge. Setting time can vary considerably, depending on the ambient temperature.)

Makes about 2-1/2 dozen (2-inch) cookies

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