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My church friends can’t get enough of these “Preacher” cookies!

No-Bake Preacher Cookies: A Delicious Tradition Made Easy

Back in the day, when surprise guests were as common as dandelions in a spring meadow, country folks needed a fail-proof plan for hospitality. Preacher cookies, also charmingly known as “no-bake cookies” or “cow patties,” originated from this very tradition. When the preacher came a-calling with very little warning, these quick confections were the answer to serving up something sweet without the need for a hot oven or a larder full of fancy ingredients.

They say the recipe was born out of necessity, but it has since passed down through generations and across kitchen tables, with each family adding their own loving twist. These hearty cookies are perfect for when you’ve got company coming or you’re simply craving something sweet for yourself. Pair these humble no-bake cookies with a steaming cup of coffee or a tall glass of cold milk. If you’re setting them out for folks, consider a platter with some sliced apples or bananas to complement the hearty oats and chocolate. But honestly, darling, these cookies can hold their own just fine.

Ingredients for No-Bake Preacher Cookies

Servings: Makes about 24 cookies

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)

Instructions for Making No-Bake Preacher Cookies

Step 1: Prepare Your Cooling Surface

Lay out some wax paper or parchment paper on your countertops. This bit of preparation will make it easier once your sweet mixture is ready to be portioned out.

Step 2: Combine Initial Ingredients

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa powder. Stir gently over medium heat until everything is nicely melted together.

Step 3: Boil the Mixture

Allow the mixture to come to a rolling boil for about a minute. Be sure to watch the pot carefully to avoid scorching the mixture.

Step 4: Add Remaining Ingredients

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the oats, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt until everything is wonderfully combined.

Step 5: Portion the Cookies

Using a tablespoon or a small ice cream scoop, drop the mixture onto your prepared paper, leaving enough room between each cookie for setting.

Step 6: Cool the Cookies

Let the cookies rest until they are firm and cool to the touch, which usually takes about 30 minutes. Patience is a virtue, sugar.

See also  Amish Cinnamon Bread

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy

Once firm, invite everyone to dig in and watch them smile as they taste tradition and simplicity at its finest.

Variations & Tips

Add a Personal Touch

  • Holiday Spirit: For a touch of the holiday spirit, add a half teaspoon of cinnamon or swap vanilla for almond extract.
  • Alternative Butters: Not a fan of peanut butter? Use almond butter or skip it entirely for a simpler chocolate-oat experience.
  • Lower Sugar Option: If you’re looking to cut down on sugar, try replacing part of it with honey. Be prepared for a slightly softer cookie.

Tips for Perfect No-Bake Cookies

  • Ingredient Measurement: Measure your ingredients with love and precision.
  • Cooling Process: Don’t rush the cooling process; it gives you a moment to sip your coffee and ponder the simple things in life.
  • Avoid Scorching: Keep an eye on your boiling mixture to prevent it from scorching.


Can I use old-fashioned oats instead of quick-cooking oats?

While you can use old-fashioned oats, the texture will be different. Quick-cooking oats provide a softer, more uniform texture, whereas old-fashioned oats will give a chewier bite.

How do I store these cookies?

Store your preacher cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. For longer storage, you can refrigerate them for up to two weeks or freeze them for up to three months.

Can I add other ingredients like nuts or dried fruit?

Absolutely! Adding chopped nuts, dried fruit, or even coconut flakes can give these cookies an extra layer of flavor and texture.

Why are my cookies not setting properly?

If your cookies are too soft and not setting properly, it could be due to insufficient boiling time. Ensure the mixture comes to a full rolling boil for at least one minute. If they’re too dry, it could be due to overcooking the mixture.

Can I make these cookies without any dairy?

Yes, you can substitute the butter with a dairy-free alternative and use a non-dairy milk such as almond milk or oat milk.

Enjoy a Piece of History

And there you have it, dear hearts, a piece of history and comfort wrapped into one. Enjoy your preacher cookies, and may they add a tablespoon of joy to your day. Whether you’re serving these to surprise guests or indulging in a sweet treat for yourself, these no-bake cookies are a testament to the simplicity and warmth of home cooking.