Shameless Chef

The Shameless Chef: Cookies In a Skillet

While hunting through some old family recipes looking for inspiration, I came across a yellowed, stained note card with the recipe for something called "Baptist Cookies," and I was intrigued. Obvious jokes aside ("Do they contain real Baptists?"), I wondered what the hell a Baptist cookie was, never having heard of such a thing. Upon reading the recipe, I discovered that they are simply cookies you can make in a skillet. Cookies. In a skillet. Hell to the yes, people.

You will need: • 1/2 cup of milk • 2 cups of sugar • 3 tablespoons of cocoa • 1 stick of butter or - gag - margarine • 2 1/2 cups of raw quick-cooking oatmeal. If you don't use the quick-cooking kind it will come out much chewier, but still good. • 1/2 cup of peanut butter • 1/2 cup the nut of your choice • Maybe some coconut, if you're one of those rare individuals who can scarf down some shaved coconut without imagining a mouthful of centipedes.

You might want to measure out everything beforehand, because once you get started on this, shit gets going pretty fast. This is one of those volatile, high-maintenance recipes that you have to stay right on top of so that nothing burns or sets up too early, but the hassle is worth it, because it makes this a very fast recipe that you can whip up in around 15 minutes. You'll probably even want to go ahead and lay down some wax paper with no-stick spray on top before you even start.

First, get your big-ass iron skillet out. Combine the milk, sugar, cocoa and butter. I think the reason these are called Baptist cookies is because when you see the gigantic pile of sugar and cocoa that goes into making them, you will probably call out to the Lord.

Once you've got those four ingredients together, grab your whisk, turn the heat up to high, and start stirring. As soon as this mixture starts boiling, turn the heat down to low and keep stirring. Stir some more. No, more than that. Let it boil for about five minutes and stir it the entire goddamn time.

Once it's boiled for about five minutes and has thickened, add in all the other ingredients. YES, ALL OF THEM, RIGHT NOW. GO GO GO GO GO GO! STIR STIR STIR STIR!!! FASTER! FASTER, DAMMIT!!!

Did you make it before it all set up? Let's hope so, because this recipe works a lot better as cookies than as a sheet cake. For the nuts, I used sunflower seeds (shelled and salted), and I have to say they worked extremely well. They added a little bit of crunch and saltiness to an obviously very sweet dessert. I'd also like to try this recipe with cashews, and you guys may want to try it with peanuts, almonds, dates or whatever. I imagine with pecans it would be a lot like a praline, so keep that in mind, if that's your thing.

Where were we? Oh right, you've got a mound of buttery sugar oats setting up in your skillet. Start spooning them out onto your wax paper, wait for them to cool, and they're ready to eat. They're fast, easy, and tasty, and the only thing that's kind of a bitch about the recipe is keeping pace with the batter before it sets / burns / explodes / gets bored and leaves for Tahiti. But of course that's the kind of thing that improves with practice, which is a good excuse to make a giant shitload of these things and start blackmailing relatives into buying them. Works best if you have a doe-eyed child who can sell them.

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John Seaborn Gray