Unlike a lot of people, I am fortunate enough to have both sides of my family live in the same city as I do. So growing up, I was around my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins a lot. I loved it. When I was a kid, we would have “cousins’ night” every week at my Nanny & Papa’s house. It was the greatest night ever. My grandparents (aka Nanny & Papa) would let us have pancakes for dinner, ice cream for breakfast, and preacher cookies…well…whenever our little hearts desired. They were and are the best.
[From left to right] Nanny, Papa, Daddy, Morgan (the angel in our nativity scene play we do every year on Christmas Eve), Moose (our pup), Momma, Me (one of the three kings)
These preacher cookies are a Houck staple. I like to believe that Nanny invented them. Or her mother. Either one.
The recipe is very simple. You don’t even turn on the oven! Some non-Houcks call them no-bake cookies. I think that name is too boring and I’m a Houck, so on little maddie’s they’re called preacher cookies. My Nanny told me the cookie got its name because if the preacher unexpectedly showed up at your house, you could have these cookies ready in no time.
How could you go wrong with butter, sugar, evaporated milk, and cocoa? No seriously…how?
You boil this mixture to get it to a consistency that will hold together when the cookies have cooled. Different recipes give you different amounts of time to boil the cocoa mixture, but I’ve found that 70 seconds works best. My Aunt Laurie told me this just a few weeks ago. I have been doing 2 1/2 whole minutes for a while! But 70 seconds gives the cookies a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth feeling, while still holding in place and not falling apart easily. Thanks Laur!
Preacher Cookies: (from the Houck family)
1 stick of butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk (if you don’t have it on hand, you can use regular milk…evaporated milk just adds more richness)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups quick cooking oats
pinch of salt
Lay out parchment paper or aluminum foil so cookies have a place to cool. Melt butter in medium saucepan on medium heat. Pour in sugar, evaporated milk, and cocoa. Stir thoroughly. Bring to boil. Boil for 70 seconds! Take off heat. Stir in vanilla, peanut butter, oats, and salt. Quickly spoon tablespoon-fulls of the mixture onto the parchment paper. The mixture will start to harden up quickly, so grab a helper to spoon the cookies out with you!