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Last-Minute Cookies

May 31, 2010

These little charmers are known as “Dino Poops” at our house, thanks to Tuxedo Boy’s early immersion in the Walking with [Digitally-Animated and Horribly-Doomed Creatures of the Past] series.  Among more civilized people, they are called No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies.  In my childhood,  we called them “Gayle Cookies,” after the family friend who first made them for us, the summer I was eleven.

Snapshot from my freaky sunshine rainbow family childhood:  my parents, a Marine Corp Captain and a Quaker hippy, had seven children–four biological and three adopted children of several races and with a variety of disabilities ranging from moderate (Perthes Disease) to very severe (fetal alcohol syndrome).  The summer we drove 14 hours  to the Washington coast to visit Phil and Gayle, we were 11, 9, 7, 6, 5, 5, and 2.  Their kids (they were also a rainbow sunshine family) must have been about 10, 8, 6, 4, and 2.  We spent a whole week at their place.

12 kids under 12.  It makes me shiver.  I remember it being a blast, but I was 11, and used to being the oldest of a raft of unkempt hooligans running wild–what the hell did I know?  Later, when I was 13, we were stationed at 29 Palms Marine Base, or Hell on Earth, as I like to call it, and they came to stay with us.  We all went to Disneyland.  The next day, four of us came down with chicken pox, just in time to give it to our house guests.

But enough of this nostalgia.  Yes, Dino Poops are ugly.  And they’re artless:  chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal.  But kids love them, they take under 10 minutes from start to serving, and crumbled up, they make a great topping for an ice cream sundae.  You could do a lot worse.

Dino Poops

2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups quick oats (don’t try this with regular or old-fashioned oats.  Or those little packets of instant, come to that)
1 cup crunchy peanut butter

In a heavy saucepan, bring sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk to a boil, stirring constantly.  Boil hard for one full minute.  Take off heat, and stir in remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly.  Drop by tablespoons on waxed paper or parchment.  Allow to cool.  Eat.

And there you have it:  Dino Poops.

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