Charlie Browns


There are certain foods that I can remember eating in the school cafeteria when I was in elementary school.  I remember pizza – and it wasn’t the pizza we have now.  It had this soft, spongy crust because they made it in one of those huge cafeteria pans and then cut it into squares.  It was always served with whole kernel corn, a roll, and a cinnamon roll.  Can you say CARB OVERLOAD??

I also remember this yummy no-bake cookie that had peanut butter and chocolate and oatmeal.  It was delicious!  And the only place I ever had it was at school.

The first year that I taught, I saw the same cookie being served in the cafeteria and I asked the cafeteria manager if I could have the recipe.  She said she would bring it by my classroom later.  She did.  I was shocked to see a recipe that started with “8 pounds of sugar,” but I remembered that when she made them, she was making them for the whole school.  She saw my expression and laughed and handed me the cut-down, make-at-home version.  Much more manageable!

Years later, when the kids were still small, I came across the recipe and made it for them.  I remembered how easy it was and wondered why I didn’t make it more often.

Then I tasted them and I remembered why I don’t make them more often.  They are addictive!  Creamy, chocolatey, a little chewy from the oatmeal.  They are wonderful!  The recipe is easier than most candy recipes because you don’t need a candy thermometer (I can never find mine anyway!).

I remember when I was in school, these were simply called “Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies.”  Years later, a friend called them Charlie Browns and that kind of stuck with us.  I’ve seen them referred to as “Boiled Cookies,” “Rock and Roll Cookies,” “Gorilla Poop Cookies,” and even “Bear Dingleberries”!

I’m sticking with Charlie Browns!

Charlie Browns

  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of peanut butter
  • 2 cups of quick oats (1-minute oatmeal)

Line two cookie sheets with waxed paper.

In a medium to large saucepan, add the sugar, butter, cocoa, and milk.  Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  When mixture comes to a full, active boil, boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  After one minute, remove from heat and add the salt, vanilla, and peanut butter, stirring until peanut butter is melted.  Add the oats and stir to combine.  Working quickly, drop by spoonfuls onto the waxed paper.  Cool until hardened.

Well Duh #1:  You can also just lay out a 4-foot banner of waxed paper onto your counter.  I have granite counter tops and they help the candy cool quicker.

Well Duh #2:  I like to whisk the sugar and cocoa together before adding the butter and milk.  This keeps the cocoa from clumping.

Well Duh #3:  Before you start cooking the sugar mixture, measure the peanut butter and oats and have them ready to go.  You can’t take too much time with this or your mixture will start to harden in the pot.

Well Duh #4:  If you don’t have a push-up measuring cup, get one!  There is nothing better for measuring things like peanut butter, shortening, etc.


Well Duh #5:  Once you have removed this from the heat, you have to work quickly.  I can’t emphasize this enough.

Well Duh #6:  I only had this recipe fail me once.  It was rainy outside and I’ve been told that may have had something to do with it.  It just wouldn’t harden.  So I scooped it up into a bowl and we had it warm over vanilla ice cream.  I am not complaining about this turn of events!

Try this easy recipe!  You will love it and it may even bring back sweet memories of your childhood!



2 thoughts on “Charlie Browns

  1. Felicia, I made these today, but they didn’t turn out very well. I don’t know what happened. I made the recipe exactly per your directions. They were super dry and brittle. They taste good, but really dry…

    • Amy – I’m so sorry! It could be something as simple as your burner burning hotter than mine. I have an electric stovetop and I cook these on 5 – which is medium on mine. if you have a gas cooktop, you may need to cook it on a little lower setting.

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