No-Bake Chocolate-Oatmeal Clusters Recipe

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Sweet Christmas Homemade Peppermints, Sugar Cake, ChocolateI first made this cookie with my Girl Scout troop more decades ago than I care to discuss, and I remember being astonished that you could create cookies without baking! I made them for my family the very next day and for years after that. They are sort of candy-like in flavor, from the boiled sugar and butter, but they’re decidedly cookie-shaped and oatmeal keeps them anchored in the cookie camp. Use old-fashioned rolled oats for the best flavor and chewiness. Quick oats don’t have enough heft. It doesn’t get much faster and easier to make a homemade treat, and these are still—thirty-some years after I first ate one—very, very tasty.

  • Yield: 6 dozen cookies


  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
How to Make It
  1. Line 3 baking sheets with wax or parchment paper. Put the sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Blend in the peanut butter until fully combined, then stir in the vanilla. Add the oats, all at once, and stir to coat completely. A heatproof silicone spatula is very useful for scraping up the butter-sugar mixture from the edges and tossing it throughout the oats.
  3. Drop the mixture by heaping tablespoons on the prepared baking sheets, making 6 rows of 4, or 24 cookies to a sheet. Cool them at room temperature until firm. You may need to place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to firm up the cookies, but store them at room temperature in airtight containers for up to 1 week.

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