Thursday, February 23, 2012

(non)Baking (mis)Adventures

Looking forward to spending the evening with some old friends today.
She's cooking supper (allergy friendly- hats off to her!), and I'm bringing dessert. After kicking around different ideas for allergy friendly dessert recipes, a lot of which don't appeal to the palate of one who isn't restricted by allergies, I finally decided to fall back on an old standby that's always a crowd pleaser (and it's a zip to make- that's a me-pleaser!): No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. I made a few modifications for the allergies: coconut oil instead of butter, almond milk instead of milk, and skip the optional peanut butter. I think I'll make a double-batch, since there's our 9 and their and their 7 or 8 ( not sure if their baby will have one), and I want to eat quite a few myself! (0;
I got a little risky and adventurous and substituted Rice Krispies for the oatmeal to make it 100% allergy free for even my husband, the Allergy King.
Do I recommend it?

I don't think the Rice Krispies are the problem, to be fair. I think it's the milk.
We've had problems before with almond milk not "setting up" or thickening in recipes.
I tried coconut milk too. Different problem, still not cookies though,
I did learn a few things though, which I will here share to hopefully avert some of your possible future no-bake woes:
When the recipe tells you to boil the sugar/milk/butter/cocoa mixture for 1 minute, 3minutes, or 5 minutes, whichever version of the much used recipe you may be working on, ignore it.
Get out your candy thermometer and boil & stir till it reaches 244 degrees. That's the upper end of "firim ball stage" in candy-making lingo, and that's what you need for the cookies to harden to the proper cookie-like consistency.
Cooler than that ends up with a gooey, runny cookie that needs to be eaten with a spoon.

Hotter than that (even just a bit!) and you get (depending on how much hotter you went), either this:


(>250 degrees)
which might be good if you like Cocoa Krispies breakfast cereal, but is not a cookie)

or, a mild 248 degrees will get you this:
which is certainly better, but is still too brittle and quick-setting to make a cookie.
So. 244 is my best guess at the ideal temperature, but you'll either have to test it yourself or wait until I get back around to it, because I have too much to do to make a fourth batch of whatever-I-might-end-up-with before we leave to visit our friends. Which IS the point of tonight, not impressing them with my (lack of) culinary skills by my apparent inability to make no-bake cookies. :0)
For now, it's bath time for my little tribe, because they helped me in these experiments, and are pretty satisfied to eat this batchImg_5278 with spoons.

Or not:
Meanwhile, I'm going to have a cappuccino while I rearrange the school shelves, which have been sadly neglected ever since we returned from our 10-year anniversary honeymoon.


  1. I've never been successful at no-bake cookies. It never occurred to me that the temp could be the problem. Instead I just kept adding or taking things away. Brilliant! Anything with coconut oil has to be good, even if it means eating it with a spoon :)

    1. I had no complaints from my tasters! We use coconut oil al the time as a butter substitute in baking (Jeff can't have the corn/soy in shortening, and coconut oil is healthier anyway!). There are a *few* things it doesn't work for (biscuits, namely), I think that has to do with temperature too: coconut oil solidifies at room temp to a much harder form than butter, and has a much lower melt/boil/burn point.
      My no-bakes were always hit-or-miss until I started monitoring the temps, that seemed to be the key! If you try it that way, let me know if 244 works for you! (I'm guessing Bamm-Bamm won't mind if it doesn't (0; )

    2. I have made no bakes many many times and they always turn out perfect. I never pay attention to temp just the length of boiling time:) I did use old fashioned oats once and they were a disaster! I think the trick is the quick oats because they absorb the moisture quickly and thus you get the "cookie" effect before they start to harden. So, maybe..the rice crispies were the culprit after all. They are not absorbent:)!

    3. Shayna - I'll make you deodorant if you make me no-bake cookies! ;)