A no-bake cookie recipe


I know that we’ve just been through a season of overeating topped with far too many sweets, but I can’t help but share with you this recipe that a friend shared with me.  I can’t remember ever eating a butterscotch cookie before, but it’s a nice flavor to add to one’s sweet treat palette.  I thought maybe this was a time honored family recipe, but since one of the ingredients is instant butterscotch pudding mix, it might not be all that old.  I’m not sure when instant pudding was invented, but that’s what is needed for the flavor of this no-bake treat.

You will need:

1 ½ sticks of real butter.  (Don’t get me started on margarine.  Personally, I can believe it’s not butter.)

2 cups of granulated sugar

6 ounces of evaporated milk. (Don’t get the sweetened kind, just plain evaporated milk.)

Note for your shopping convenience: Evaporated milk seems to come in 5 oz or 12 oz cans, so you can get one 12 oz can and mix two batches, or I’d be tempted to use just five ounces and see if that works.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the producers of evaporated milk had a say in this recipe.

1 pkg instant butterscotch pudding

4 cups 1- minute oatmeal

In a sauce pan, blend the butter, sugar and evaporated milk and bring to a boil, always stirring the mixture to avoid scorching.  You need to continue boiling this mixture for five full minutes. It’s important to make sure that you boil the mixture a full five minutes, or the cookies will not dry out and be sticky and messy. You can get by with stirring less frequently at first, but once the boiling starts, you can reduce the heat a bit but stir until you’ve cooked the mixture for the full time.

Once the boiling is complete, remove the pan from the heat and add the package of butterscotch pudding mix to flavor the caramel like consistence of the other ingredients.  Stir in four cups of uncooked 1 minute oatmeal.  Do not use the small single serving packages of flavored oatmeal, but the tall cylindrical silos of 1 minute oatmeal.  It will say 1- minute on the canister.

Continue to stir until the mixture has cooled down enough that you can work with it.  On wax paper, spoon out individual cookies between a teaspoon and a tablespoon.  I like to use the rounded soup spoons, which gives the cookies a nice shape and is the right amount without measuring.  Make sure the cookies are not touching each other.  Let the cookies cool until they are completely devoid of heat and start to dry to the touch.  After that, you can stack them with wax paper in between layers of cookies.  That’s it. 

And here’s the McKnotes twist on this recipe.  If you’d rather have chocolate no-bake cookies, use the same recipe, but replace the instant pudding mix with two squares of baker’s chocolate.  Make sure that you get all of the chocolate melted before removing from the heat.  

If you’d like to try some other flavor, try a different flavor of instant pudding mix.  Banana pudding should yield a Bananas Foster flavor, since the butter, sugar and milk mixture closely resembles caramel.  Be creative and come up with your own choice for flavoring the mixture, especially if you’re not drawn to butterscotch.

So soon after Christmas and New Years, with already overloaded sugar content, it may be best to file this away for next year or wait for another event in a month or so.  If you like butterscotch, these no-bake cookies are a real treat.  If you choose another flavor, you’re still good to go.  The kitchen should be a creative place.  If you can only follow a recipe one ingredient at a time with the absence of any variations, you may as well have a science lab instead of a kitchen.