When I was in high school in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the cafeteria staff had to make use of the large quantities of peanut butter received from government food programs. They often served a no-bake bar cookie loaded with PB and quick oats – which I developed a fondness for but never saw outside of that area before or since. In recent months I thought I’d try to make this cookie, but the recipe I procured from a friend was for the chocolate version, which turned out OK but did not tickle that particular taste memory for me. I contacted a high school friend, Ginger, via Facebook, who I figured could come up with something for me. She told me she developed a white version of this cookie with marshmallow creme added that resulted in something akin to fudge, and that it had been a big hit with her family.
I made a big batch of these cookies two weeks ago and they disappeared fast. If you try the recipe, one suggestion is to wait a day before you serve them so that they firm up and meld a bit. That said, I think my husband and son ate about a third of them the first day, so good luck with the waiting.
I have to say that I find it interesting that all the kids who were nice in high school became nice adults, and the ones who were interested in cooking as teens still cook today. Case in point: Ginger and I were in Home Economics together (do they still teach this anywhere?) making things like chocolate fondue (that was the 70’s) and now she and I are both in the food business.
Ginger’s White No-bake Bar Cookies
1 cup margarine (use one of those “bad” margarines – not something like Smart Balance; butter works, too)
2 cups white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
5 cups quick oats
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon vanilla
1) Combine margarine, sugars and milk and bring to a hard boil; allow to boil for two minutes, stirring gently with a heatproof spatula. Note that the hard boil is important, because it is raising the temperature of the sugars so that the cookies set properly.
2) Remove from heat
3) Add peanut butter, marshmallow creme and vanilla, stirring till mostly melted
4) Stir in oats until all are coated
5) Spread out evenly in a wax-paper lined 9′ X 13″ oblong cake pan (or one that is nonstick with a bit of oil spray)
6) Allow to cool on counter for 15 mins and then transfer to refrigerator to cool for two hours
7) Turn out onto counter (carefully!) and cut into bars. I use a bench scraper or wide spackling tool for this