I can recall Christmas time in AZ as a little girl typically wishing I was someplace in the movies where snow wasn't a foreign concept. But, despite my lack of cold powdery stuff anywhere within my perimeter, one of my fondest memories entailed a box awaiting my departure from the school bus.
My parents owned a mattress/bedding store growing up. I would ride the bus home, or shall I say, ride the bus to the store everyday. I was in the first grade, walking to the store anticipating the coming Christmas break (I was a huge daydreamer, so not being in a routinized setting meant the world to me). Upon my arrival, there was a package waiting for all of us to open. It was a big cardboard box from Oregon, which meant it was from Grandma Cox.
My grandma was one of those iconic grandmother types. She embodied everything grandmotherly (i.e. warm hugs, cards sent for every holiday, and that aura). I loved her more than just for what she gave us, but how she loved. She loved with an unconditional love. If she didn't like someone, you would never know it, because she loved them immensely. So, whenever we received anything in the mail from her, it was as if we were getting a bit of her there with us.
And on that December day, when I walked through the store's back door and scrounged through that box with my brother, the round tin was our golden ticket. My mom trying to enforce some constraint on our behalf, but I can still recall the chocolate peanut butter no bakes. I feel like these are the quintessential Christmas nostalgia cookie for me, because of my grandma.
Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bakes (printable recipe)
I used gluten-free oats, in order for my gluten intolerant friend to eat them. However, I did notice these had a bit of a chew to them. I think it's because they were Bob's Red Mill Oats. They were still wonderful and reminiscent of Grandma's. This recipe is adapted from here.
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups oats (I used gluten-free)
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, butter, cocoa & milk and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until mixture begins to boil. Allow it to boil without stirring for 2-2 1/2 minutes. Then, add the peanut butter, vanilla & oats, stirring it all together. Remove from heat and continue to stir to allow the mixture to coat thoroughly. Using a teaspoon or tablespoon (depending on what size you want), drop mixture onto wax paper. Allow to sit and firm up. Eat & drink with milk.