How to keep no-bake cookies from becoming grainy?

The common Peanut butter/oat/butter/sugar/cocoa recipe (there are variations on proportions, but not much). A friend growing up called them "chocolate death wads" my family always called them "Molly Cookies". The basic procedure is to boil sugar, cocoa, milk and butter, then add peanut butter and oats, spoon them out and let them cool.

When my grandmother would make these, they always had this lovely glossy sheen to them, and the mouth-feel was smooth (well, apart from the oats.) Every now and again I'll get that, but more often than not, they end up kind of crumbly and dry with a matte sheen, and the mouth-feel is grittier.

Most of the recipes I have seen talk about boiling for a certain amount of time, but I thought a temperature might be more precise for troubleshooting. When I used a thermometer and took it solidly into soft ball 235-240 range, they were even worse than usual. And sometimes, the early ones spooned out are fine, but it's the end of the batch, that cools off some before you get them dished that are the crumbly sort. Which seems to indicate that the cooking temperature isn't the culprit at all.

Has anyone else had this problem? Any advice?



Mamitagomez December 24, 2021
Thank you for posting this question. After 5 failed batches for a cookie exchange, my bullmastiff’s one step away from diabetes. Will try medium heat all the way through next time and ease up on the stirring, as all the timing variations have been attempted.
Vickie P. January 20, 2019
Someone once told me when boiling and sugar mixture for candy/cookies to not mix it makes the sugar crystallize when it cools making for a grainy texture. Try just a quick stir to keep from scalding on the bottom and let the boiling do the work. I'm not sure if this is what is causing your issue,but I have smooth no bakes every time and ive always used that advice.
MMH February 8, 2018
I make these frequently for my daughter's swim team. I agree with Berry Baby. I have also found that old fashioned oats rather than quick oats result in a better texture.
BerryBaby February 7, 2018
Not sure if this is the answer but here’s a thought. When heating the sugar, cocoa, milk and butter make sure the sugar has dissolved before adding dry ingredients. You can do this by taking a bit of the liquid mixture and rub it between your thunb and index finger. If it feels gritty, the sugar hasn’t dissolved. Keep testing until you no longer feel grit. Remove from heat and add dry ingredients.
Are you using a low to low-medium heat? Too hot and the milk will scald.
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