I’ve been on another massive chocolate and peanut butter kick lately. Something about the way that the salty nuttiness of the peanut butter mixes with the rich chocolate and melts together on my tongue … I just can’t get enough of it right now!
As I stood in front of my pantry Saturday afternoon, wrestling my taste buds, wanting something better than just dropping chocolate chips onto a spoonful of peanut butter (though we’ve all been there before…), I thought back to my last peanut butter/chocolate hankering. That craving episode led to the dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Delicious and awesome as they were, they took some time to prepare and I wanted something that would satisfy my craving quickly.
I’d been looking through some old blog posts that morning, and came across one of my favorite recipes that I’d completely forgotten about since I’m living sans-dairy now – My Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bakes! I’d written those cookies off a long time ago because the butter in them is so crucial to the texture, I didn’t think that I’d find a decent substitute. But as I looked at my baking shelf, I noticed my jar of coconut oil and I could feel the gears in my head start turning. I wondered how that would do for a butter sub. Coconut oil has got plenty of fat and melts down just like butter… *Insert image of me looking pensive, with one finger on my chin*
I had nothing else to do with my afternoon, so I figured that this would be a good day for an experiment!
I used my recipe from the old blog post and substituted the appropriate ingredients in the same measurements – coconut oil for butter and almond milk for dairy milk. To start this recipe, combine the coconut oil, almond milk, sugar, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt in a saucepan – I just spooned out enough coconut oil from the jar to fill 1/2 cup to measure it. Once all of the ingredients are melted together, allow it to heat up to a hard boil. Let the mixture remain at a hard boil for 1 minute.
After the mixture has boiled at hard for 1 minute, remove the saucepan from the heat and set it on a heating pad. Then, add the peanut butter and vanilla – I used my homemade vanilla extract in this recipe! Whisk the peanut butter and vanilla until they are fully incorporated into the hot mixture.
Add the rolled oats directly to the pot and stir until each oat is thoroughly coated. Prep two cookie sheets by lining them with aluminum foil or wax paper – don’t worry about spraying any Pam or other nonstick spray on them. Using a spoon, or your hands if you don’t mind the heat, scoop the oats onto the cookie sheets and spread them into a cookie shape – because you all know how much I love to shape cookies instead of just dropping them. I got 23 cookies from the mix, and I set the cookie sheets in the fridge for 15-20 minutes for them to chill and set.
Subbing coconut oil for butter in these cookies totally worked! I was afraid that the no-bakes might end up tasting primarily of coconut from the oil. Coconut is one of those flavors that really sticks out on the palette and is hard to work around. The peanut butter covered whatever traces of coconut flavor were in these cookies, and the cocoa powder came in at the end of the bite to wrap it in a deep richness. These fudgy, little, dairy-free oat clusters came out tasting exactly like the original recipe. And because of the oats, these no-bakes are actually pretty filling.
Halfway through my first cookie, I wanted another. But once I made my way through all of those oats in the cluster, I didn’t know if I could do another. I already felt full, and my palette was still savoring the salty nuttiness that was lingering in my mouth. I’ve still got a whole plate of no-bakes to go through, that should last me through this peanut butter and chocolate yearning episode…Maybe…I’m having another…
Recipe for Dairy-Free Peanut Butter No-Bakes:
1/2 cup Coconut Oil (I used regular, non-virgin coconut oil)
1/2 cup Almond Milk (I used a non-flavored, sweetend milk)
2 cups Sugar
4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
4 cups Rolled Oats
Combine coconut oil, almond milk, cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Once all ingredients are melted, bring to a boil. Allow to boil at hard for 1 minute. After 1 minute of boiling at hard, remove saucepan from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add rolled oats and stir until thoroughly coated.
Cover two baking trays with wax paper or aluminum foil. Drop oats by the spoonful onto the sheets, or gather some of the oats in your hands and shape into circles on cookie sheet. Repeat until no mixture is left. Chill cookies on baking trays in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes, or for 10 minutes if in the freezer. Remove from baking trays and store at room temperature.