In 1998, the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Guttenberg, Iowa celebrated it’s 50th anniversary. To commemorate this spiritual milestone, they published a cookbook. Thirteen years later, we turn to this cookbook for a very specific craving that my pregnant wife had – no-bake cookies.
I think I have been inside the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Guttenberg, Iowa on possibly one occasion, although I have driven by it many times. It is a perfectly picturesque building in a Midwestern riverfront town brimming with bed and breakfasts and people from my wife’s maternal side of the family. Both the bed and breakfasts and the people are all exceedingly nice, except in June when the Junebugs come out. Those are gross.
The St. John’s Lutheran Church in Guttenberg, Iowa is also where my wife’s two sisters were each married, so I am familiar via wedding photos of the inside of the church. And it is because of this connection that I believe that I subconsciously associate the inside of this church with very poofy shoulder pads.
The recipes from this cookbook are similar in time and tenor to the recipes from the Western Dubuque Marching Band Cook Book. In fact, I believe that they were both made by the same publisher, and I even think that some of the recipes are exactly the same, word for word. Yet, there are some differences between the two, and this recipe for no-bake cookies is in this cookbook only. And it’s one of my wife’s favorite things to make.
No-bake Cookies Recipe:
1. mix it (wet): the recipe calls for 1 stick of oleo, but I don’t think i’ve ever actually seen oleo before. So, we melted 1 stick of butter with 2C sugar, and 0.25C milk. The recipe also calls for a quarter cup of cocoa powder, but we use hershey’s special dark cocoa powder and we bumped it up to 1/3C (per my mother-in-law’s suggestion). Mix it all up until it looks like you’re cooking a pot of used motor oil.
2. mix it (dry?): the recipe is pretty straightforward and forgiving. We followed the instructions and removed from heat; added 3C quick oats, 0.5C peanut butter, 1t vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt; and mixed thoroughly.
3. dish it: lay some wax paper down on the counter and start dishing out the mixture in ~1t increments. Let it dry for a couple hours or overnight.
4. eat it: Generous in chocolate and peanut butter and hearty with oats, these cookies fall somewhere between candy and a granola bar. And they are a peculiarly delicious treat.
They remind me of cliff bars, but without the extra chewy stickiness that makes me think the cliff bar is going to pull a filling. They aren’t exactly the healthiest treat, so they won’t really serve as a granola/energy bar replacement, but it’s got a ton of oats in it, so that must count for something, right?
*note: my wife and I originally bought these glasses to serve table wine with dinner. I liked the size of them, and since I hate washing wine glasses, these were a much easier daily alternative to stemware. However, since we’ve been pregnant, we’ve repurposed them.