One-Pot Wonders

Boiled Peanut Butter Cookies From Scott Peacock

July 13, 2020
12 Ratings
Photo by Kristen Miglore
Author Notes

You might already love these cookies. They take all of five minutes to make, without heating the oven (or you). They're well-loved across the U.S.—some call them preacher cookies, some call them poodgies. But there is an art to nailing the glossy tops and fudgy middles. This recipe includes the tips chef Scott Peacock has gathered over a lifetime.

As Scott writes in The Gift of Southern Cooking, “These are, hands down, my very favorite cookie from childhood. I first tasted them at our next-door neighbor’s, though they quickly became my sister Janet’s specialty and a family classic. Quick, easy, and cooked on top of the stove, they are really more confection than cookie. And be forewarned, they are powerfully addictive.”

A few more of Scott’s tips: Any peanut butter will work, creamy, crunchy, unsweetened, or not—they’ll all just give slightly different flavors. Same with the unsweetened cocoa: Natural or Dutch-process are both good—the former will be deeper and darker, the latter will give you more of a classic brownie flavor. Any milk works here. Rolled oats will work in place of the quick-cooking variety. Try to choose a saucepan that isn’t especially wide, so that your moisture doesn’t evaporate too quickly, to get cookies that are set but still soft and pliable. And be sure to try one while it’s still warm.

Recipe from The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations from Two Great American Cooks (Knopf, April 2003).

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Watch This Recipe
Boiled Peanut Butter Cookies From Scott Peacock
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Makes about 32 cookies, but halves well
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (any fat content works)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Mix together the peanut butter, oats, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Don’t worry about getting it evenly mixed—it will all come together in the pot soon enough.
  2. Heat the butter and milk in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, until the butter is melted. Whisk in the sugar, salt, and cocoa until smooth. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, until you see large bubbles, stirring often to prevent scorching. With a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the peanut butter–oat mixture, and continue cooking for 1 minute longer, until the mixture is still fluid but starting to hold a shape, stirring constantly.
  3. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on or near the burner to keep the mixture warm as you scoop (it shouldn’t still be bubbling, just keeping warm). Drop the cooked mixture by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper, parchment paper, or aluminum foil. Allow to cool and become firm. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 week.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Leslie Sexton
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    Tim Yoder
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Recipe by: Genius Recipes

43 Reviews

Amy May 19, 2021
anyone have instructions for old fashioned oats? thanks!
 
trvlnsandy May 20, 2021
that's all I ever buy - so I'd just use them. Did you google the recipe? Most I encountered use old fashioned
 
Jacque February 21, 2021
I'd saved this recipe a long time ago but finally allowed myself to make them - oh boy are they a wonderful treat! Realized after I started I didn't have cocoa powder so substituted dark chocolate chips and reduced the amount of butter and sugar. They are setting up nicely, and I am following Scott's advice to enjoy them at various points in the cooling process. #selfcare
 
lyndailey December 30, 2020
that video was the most delightful thing I've watched in a long time. thanks for the pandemic cheer! and of course the cookies ....
 
Lauritarosita December 27, 2020
These cook up in about the time it takes to log into a zoom call and cool down fast enough to be ready to eat them during the call. I’ve done this on many an occasion and every time I’m happy I did.
 
Cristol A. August 27, 2020
Yummy!
My grandmother added the peanut butter last, with the butter. Mixing peanut butter into oats was painful.
 
Leslie S. July 31, 2020
I think I have at least 3 different recipes for these. I made these today and I think they are the best I’ve ever made. I’m thinking that it is the way everything is blended that makes them. Anyway, these are now my favorite! Thank you for sharing.
 
Kate V. July 27, 2020
Hi folks. Has anyone done the metric conversion?
 
ellen July 29, 2020
https://m.convert-me.com/en/convert/cooking/
 
Hafsa S. July 23, 2020
Are they oats supposed to taste crunchy in the set cookies? I used quick cook steel cut oats and they oats feel under cooked.. But they flavor is sooo good! Help is greatly appreciated!
 
trvlnsandy July 23, 2020
How interesting. Supposed to be rolled, and rolled oats aren't crunchy, but the quick cook steel cut sound like almost adding nuts.
 
Tim B. July 23, 2020
I tried making this vegan. Coconut oil instead of butter, almond milk instead of cow milk. Used coconut sugar also. Flavour is good - a bit like eating a chocolate textured porridge :). But last step the mixture immediately dried in the pot, so I had to add more milk to loosen the mixture. It still wasn't as runny as the video/picture suggests. I formed the cookies using a tablespoon measure. I assume letting the cookies rest will allow the oat to soak all liquid/oil and firm up more. Any suggestions on how I could adapt this to get a better texture?
 
hellspantry July 21, 2020
Super fast. Tastes a bit likes a PB brownie I don't think it rivals a baked cookie, but it's a good option in the summer.

They're too sweet. I would cut the sugar back to 1.5 cups, increase the salt to 1 tsp, and add dried cherries or cranberries if you have them on hand.
 
Nina M. July 21, 2020
I just tried making these and doing a half batch like in the video. They don’t look as glossy as the picture so I’m not sure what went wrong there. From the teeny bit I tested, it tasted good. Like a combination oatmeal/chocolate/peanut butter cookie. Very little work and no preheating ovens!
 
Nina M. August 6, 2020
I tried again tonight and these came out even worse! Did I boil the cocoa/butter/sugar mixture too long? I thought I kept setting the timer for 90 seconds but turned out it was for an hour and 30 minutes so these boiled longer than 90 seconds I am sure. They came out super crumbly, not a “glossy” top.
 
Leslyj July 21, 2020
We called these moose turds in the 70's . Everyone loved them.
 
sandymoran July 21, 2020
I noticed from some of the reviews the cookies were not setting up. Make sure to boil for the indicated time in the recipe so the sugar has time to get to a point where it will help to set them up. No need for a thermometer but make sure to boil it for the full amount of time. Another thing we have been enjoying is putting the cookies in the frig. They are delicious cold.
 
Deb V. July 19, 2020
I made these cookies after watching the video and followed the recipe exactly. I don’t get why everyone loves them so much, they are just ok, sticky and don’t look very appetizing. I was going to take them to a picnic but they just won’t work, they’re too messy.
 
trvlnsandy July 19, 2020
you don't indicate whether or not you tasted one, and if they cooled. Usually they have to cool to firm up and develop a kind of 'crust'.
 
Susan L. July 19, 2020
if they were sticky either you didn't boil them long enough, or you didn't use instant oats. They should be glossy and fudge-like.
 
Joyce J. July 18, 2020
I just made these and after several hours they are still very sticky and not set. I did use the quick-cooking oats. Wondering what I may have done wrong??
 
trvlnsandy July 18, 2020
Comparing this recipe to the one I got in home ec probably 50 years ago - this one uses a bit more cocoa (1/2 c compared to 1/3 -- so I'd go with the 1/2 ;) ). Mine says regular oats and boil 1 full minute. Might try that. Also mine say if you want - 3 c oats and 1/2 c chopped nuts (peanuts probably). I did in the microwave - melted and then boiled for a min.
 
Susan L. July 19, 2020
I don't start timing the boil until it is a full rolling boil. otherwise they don't set up.
 
Casey B. August 13, 2020
Hi Joyce, it's possible that you didn't boil long enough (60-90 seconds at a complete rolling boil), but it's also possible the environmental conditions were too humid. My mom always made these for me growing up, and I've been making them as an adult. I am always surprised when they're sticky until I realize it's a rainy or super humid day outside. Even with A/C in the house, it's too humid. Hope you will try them again!
 
Tim Y. July 18, 2020
We called these "no-bake cookies" growing up. One of my favorites! Our preferred PB is Smucker's natural chunky peanut butter.
 
trvlnsandy July 18, 2020
Ditto what LadyDi said. Need to make them again! I always loved them when I did -- perhaps I quit making them for the reason she gave. Too easy to eat the entire batch!
 
LadyDi July 16, 2020
I've been making these for over 5 decades. Only difference is the way they are put together in the pan. Made a batch a few weeks ago, ended up eating all of them myself out of boredom, won't be doing that again soon! Got the recipe from my Aunt so many years ago. Love, love, love these. We just called them "Boiled Cookies". Thanks for the memories.
 
Kristen M. July 17, 2020
Thanks for sharing, LadyDi!
 
Susan L. July 15, 2020
be sure you use quick oats or they don't harden up. It took me years to figure that out!
 
Kristen M. July 17, 2020
Thanks for the tip! Others who've commented have said that the rolled oats work but they come out chewier, so it may be a matter of how long you cook them and how much of the liquid they absorb.
 
sandymoran July 15, 2020
I made a half batch and they are soooo good. I did not have chunky peanut butter and wanted the crunch so I added a quarter cut of chopped honey roasted pistachios. I think the addition of pecans would also work well.
 
Kristen M. July 17, 2020
Great idea! Thanks for letting us know.