Chef Mike Wagner, Colmar, PA
Cooking secret “Since I’m not experienced enough to wing it with some dishes, I often use a Sharpie to write the recipe and cooking directions on the zip-top bags that contain my ingredients.”
3 cups plain instant oatmeal
1/4 cup butter or butter substitute
1 2⁄3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa (heaping, if desired)
1/2 cup milk (can be powdered)
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Put sugar, cocoa, and milk (if using a powdered variety) in a zip-top bag. Place oatmeal in another zip-top bag.
Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and milk (plus water if using powdered) in a pot. Bring to a boil at medium-high heat, stirring gently every minute or so to mix. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter (first), then vanilla and oatmeal. Drop mixture by the spoonful onto waxed paper. Let cool (about 15 minutes for gooey cookies, 25 to 30 minutes for firm ones). Serve, and then “humbly receive the praise,” says Wagner. Makes about 24 cookies.