Sibling Assignment # 54: No Bake Cookies and a Keeper for the Recipe Box

by Alibree on flickr

Silver Valley Girl gave the Sibling Assignment this week. "All this snow around here reminds me of the last time I lived here and there was this much snow in Kellogg, and that was when I was five-years-old. Think back to when you were five, and share some memories from when you were five-years-old." SVG's can be found here and RP's will be here.

Making No Bake Cookies with Hedvie

A few years ago while reading the obituaries in the Spokesman- Review I came across a picture that took me back to being five years old. Although many years older her friendly smile and warm eyes hadn’t changed. Hedvie Lenhart was our landlady and also our next door neighbor. She was a homemaker and because of that always seemed to be home. During my kindergarten year Dad was home to care for me because the unions employed at the Bunker Hill Mining Company had gone on strike. Dad was assigned on one particular day to walk the picket line, so Hedvie took over my care when I returned home in the afternoon from kindergarten.

Hedvie’s house was always an adventure. She had a piano and pretty things to admire around her living room. She had a son close to my age that had been hit by a car and killed. I always studied his picture on the table by the piano when I arrived. She reassured me Markie was in heaven. For some reason I thought when I looked up at a crescent moon in the night sky I would see him swinging on the edge. I think my brother and I both used to look. Her other two children were older than me so they were off at school like my brother that day.

As I entered the kitchen she had on a bright apron tied at her waist and was pulling wax paper from the roll, tearing it, and placing it on the counter. She had Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa, a box of oatmeal, sugar, Carnation canned milk and a jar of peanut butter grouped at the table. My six-year-old curiosity got the best of me.

“What are doing Hedvie?” I asked.

“ I am getting ready to make cookies and you are going to help me,” she replied with a big smile on her face. I was confused . When grandma or mom made cookies there was always a mixer and cookie sheets out.

She grabbed a three quart Revereware pan and put it on the stove.

“How can you make cookies without a mixer?” I inquired.

First she explained I needed to pull up a chair so I could help. Then I watched her put ingredients in the saucepan. She then put the concoction on the stove. I was fascinated with the preparation of these cookies. The sweet combination of cocoa, butter, and sugar made the room smell like a bakery.

She stirred the cookies explaining how they would stick to the pan if she walked away. I think she let me hold the wooden spoon and do some stirring also. The next part was the most vivid in my five-year-old mind. She dropped the cookies on wax paper to set. That was it. They didn’t even have to bake.

As I waited for them to cool on the counter I went to the living room to look at a book. I kept peeking in the kitchen impatiently wondering when those cookies could be tasted.

When the time came to sample one I remember the flavors mixed into a perfect cookie heaven. I still love the rich combination of those ingredients today. Running my finger over the imprint left on the wax paper as I had my first “No Bake Cookie” little did I know these cookies would still be popular more than forty years later. We moved to another house and Hedvie relocated to Spokane. I would sometimes see her when we visited people at the lake where she also had a cabin. She still had friendly smile and warm eyes.

Growing up No Bake Cookies were a quick fix for a sugar craving that Mom could whip up after dinner when she took a break from correcting paper. Later the preparation was passed to me. When I began teaching in Inchelium these cookies were wildly popular at bake sales. The students just called them No Bakes. Usually this is the first recipe students prepare in Home Ec also so I have seen these cookies in a variety of forms and shapes.

If you have missed the culinary pleasure of having a “No Bake”, grab a saucepan and wax paper and whip up a batch. I may have to go take my same advice.

Recipe for No Bake Cookies

2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick cooking oats
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, peanut butter and oats.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow cookies to cool for 30 min. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 4 dozen.


  1. What a great memory! Thanks for sharing it. I love no bake cookies, and now I'm really hungry for some. :-)

  2. groan. These are the best cookies in all of the universe. And the story was wonderful. Hedvie Lenhart. What a great name! Kids were still safe then and neighbors stepped up to mind each other's kids then, too. What a sweet woman to reassure YOU about her deceased son. This tale would make a great children's book of some kind; it's just plain wonderful.

  3. What a lovely lovely heartwarming story..... and the 'biscuits' look so scrummie that Im gonna make them with the minded nippers this afternoon cos the infant school is closed and I have a house full :) - so fanks for that lol

    The kindly neighbour that would sometimes take me and me brother in after school was called Mrs Marsh she lived 3 doors away, and when we use to get home from school when I was about 6 or 7 and there was no one in, she would usher us into her kitchen where she was ALWAYS baking..... and her hubby use to grow loads of fruit bushes in the garden and there was always blackcurrant puddings and gooseberry fools.... shame her boy kenny who was my brothers age was a right proper dickhead lol..... I remember he asked to see me knickers once for a bowl of gooseberries and I remember me brother punching him in the side of the head lmfao.....

    See what you do with your writings.... you jog the memories on the shelves of me mind :)


  4. My friend Venus makes those -- and brings them over and we pig out. snort.

    When I was a little girl, my brother who was 16 years older, made potato cookies with me. I remember it so well. They tasted awful, but I still ate them!

  5. What great memories! I love these no-bake cookies, too. Just looking at the picture I can actually sort of taste them!

  6. What a great prompt idea, do you mind if I wing into your sibling assignments and post my own? just thinking about things, I have quite a few scattered memories of myself as a five year old, and since my son is that age now, they seem to be bubbling to the surface quite willingly at the moment.

  7. A variation of this recipe was made in my classroom at 'our school' by busy sixth graders. I had two groups a day and a new group every six weeks. That's alot of cookies. The halls smelled wonderful and the kiddos gobbled them up! Sweet memories. . .

  8. What a poignant little story; as with the other commenters, it jogs a distant memory of my own. Now mind you, I don't have a whole lot of fond ones, at least not from this era of my childhood, so it's with true nostalgia that I can savor this.
    My Great-grandmother in Wyoming had just died, and her small shipment of remaining effects were sent to my father. I happened to be there while he was going through them when he came across a tattered recipe for something called "Monster Cookies", which intrigued him and me both (me I think by proxy, since I couldn't yet read!)
    Anyway, he was sober and in a rollicking good mood, and we utterly demolished the kitchen making these "Monster" cookies, which really weren't monstrous at all, just had everything but the kitchen sink thrown in.
    That afternoon was one of the best days I ever had with just me and my dad- I cherish that memory.
    Thank you for bringing it all back with your post- and thanks for the recipe!

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