Archive | December, 2011

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Candies

29 Dec


This is a family favorite. I have had this recipe forever and used to make this when the kids were little. It is super easy to make and lots of fun for kids.  

The hardest part of the whole recipe is keeping people out of the fridge while the candies cool.

I am pretty sure that my sister-in-law gave me this recipe, but she says she doesn’t remember.  Last year, my daughter  asked for the recipe. I sent it to her in this e-mail: 

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No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Candies

Melt together: 1/4 c. salted butter (stick margarine is okay too); 1/4 c. cocoa; 1/4 c. milk (skim okay); 3/4 c. sugar
Boil 2 minutes. Take off of heat
Add: 1/4 tsp vanilla and 1 1/2 cups raw oatmeal (non-instant)
Mix and drop onto waxed paper on cookie sheets.
Put in refrigerator to cool.
Padlock fridge so you will have some left to serve.
Love, Mom
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 Some post-scripts:
You can use gluten-free oatmeal, no problem.
It is possible to replace some or even all of the sugar with Splenda. (We tried this recently.)  In the interests of full disclosure, I will tell you here that if you replace all of the sugar with Splenda, the taste and texture will be a little different.
In any taste test between the regular and completely sugar-free versions of this treat, the regular version wins hands down.  But it’s not a fair comparison, and more to the point, it is an irrelevant comparison to anyone who can’t eat the sugar anyway.  So I say, go ahead and make the sugar-free version for friends and family who are diabetic. You may need to use about 1/4 cup less oatmeal because the Splenda adds less volume than sugar, so you will have a little less chocolate sauce. 
by Randa Dubnick
Image is “Curlicues in Chocolate Brown” by Randa Dubnick.  All rights reserved.
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Ol’ Pokerface Barbecue Sauce

2 Dec

When guests ask for your recipe for homemade barbecue sauce, you will need to get out your ol’ pokerface.

I came up with this a few years ago, close to dinnertime, with chicken defrosted, grill hot. . .and I had forgotten to buy barbecue sauce. Now I am more likely to use this recipe than to buy barbecue sauce at the store.

Mix  1/2 c ketchup and 1/2 c steak sauce (I use A-1, but use any kind you like.) Then check the taste and adjust proportions if needed.  (It should taste like barbecue sauce, NOT like ketchup and NOT like steak sauce.)

It’s great as is, and works well on chicken, hamburgers, etc. But if you want to gussy this up, you can add

1) heat: 1/2 tsp chili powder OR 4 drops tabasco

2) tang: 1 T orange juice and 1/4 tsp ginger

3) smoke: 1/2 tsp Trader Joe’s South African Smoke*

*This is the only smoke flavoring I use.  It is made of smoked paprika, basil, garlic. No chemicals and it is vegetarian and gluten-free.

NOTE: There is sugar in the ketchup and in the steak sauce, but probably less than in most commercial barbecue sauces.  But you could adapt Ol’ Pokerface by using sugar-free or reduced sugar ketchup and sugar-free steak sauce.

Randa Dubnick

Image is “Double Swirl” by Randa Dubnick

All rights reserved.