The Great Cookie Experiment – Mountain Bars

Welcome to the first Great Cookie Experiment of 2012.  Julie and I have been talking about this feature and I asked her if she was ready to move onto something else.  Her response was that she wasn’t out of recipes yet and still liked cookies so we’d keep going with it.  This makes me happy since it means every week I get to eat the sneak peak of the next experiment.  I do have to show a bit of self control so her cookies don’t ruin my diet, but all things in moderation and a Great Cookie is a great reward for a week of clean eating.  So…without further stalling…Julie and Mountain Bars.  (Oh, and this will return to being our Wednesday special, don’t ask what happened this week.  I have no good excuses, but good cookies…focus on the cookies!)

The Great Cookie Experiment – Mountain Bars

A few months ago, I posted about my family’s favorite cookie- Nobake, Uncooked Chocolate, whatever cookies.  This recipe for Mountain Bars is pretty much exactly the same recipe….except it isn’t.  This comes from the family cookbook that my second cousin put together after a big family reunion many years ago.  My grandmother was a lunch lady for a school in Oregon for many years back in the 1950’s.  She would tell me stories about how she would prepare lunch for the elementary school students, and believe me, we have lost something when it comes to school lunches!  She was a fabulous southern cook, and I loved everything she ever made.  This is her lunch lady recipe for Mountain Bars.  They taste exactly like my Uncooked Chocolate cookies, except they are designed to feed a school, or make enough that you could do it in a few batches, anyway.

There are some differences in the preparation method for this cookie.  I get really tickled when you take the same ingredient, make them in different ways, and still come out with a fabulous cookie.  The biggest difference with this recipe is that the cocoa is added at the beginning when you are boiling the milk and sugar.  I always added the cocoa at the end.  Her recipe has you adding the butter in the middle after things have boiled, where I put the butter in at the beginning.  The last difference is the addition of coconut.  She uses it.  I don’t.  I would definitely consider the coconut as an optional ingredient.  The results are ALMOST the same.  I noticed that the texture for my grandmother’s cookies was a little different.  Hers has a little bit of a sugar crust that forms while the cookies cool.  They are delicious either way.

The funny part about making this recipe was the reaction of my friends!  This is a familiar recipe to everyone, and everyone calls it something different (one friend insists they are Black Crappies).   They were surprised that I even made them, given it’s a standard cookie around here.  I insisted that these were different, but it turns out that everyone else makes them the way my grandmother does- with the cocoa first.  I was the one who had the recipe that was different!

I’m happy to share my grandmother’s recipe.  Make these for a crowd, and everyone will love them!

Mountain Bars

½ cup dry milk

2 cups water

¾ cup Hershey cocoa

7 cups sugar

Bring to a boil, and add the following:

½ lb butter

4 tsp vanilla

1 lb 2 oz (2 ½ cups) peanut butter

Mix until blended (still boiling) Remove from heat and add:

2 cups coconut

2 ½ lbs quick cooking oatmeal

Drop by spoonful onto waxed paper.  Cool completely.  Makes about 87 cookies.

From Grandma Alice Bingham’s recipes

(Ed note:  I’ve seen versions of these cookies on gluten free websites.  They do not contain any wheat gluten, but some folks are also sensitive to the trace glutens in oats.  So if you’re baking for a gluten free crowd these may work, but consume in moderation.)


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