In the winter of 2004 there was an unexpected ice storm in South Carolina where we lived at the time. My oldest was 11 years old, and Ma Petite was just a few months shy of four. Our area was hit hard, with inches of solid ice covering power lines and everything else.
The scene from our big bay window seat in the kitchen was magical, but the fact that we had no electricity for five days caused the magic to wane a bit. It also caused us to rethink those gas logs we had removed from the house when we bought it only a couple years before.
What we did have was an old kerosene heater in our garage, one my Sweet Daddy had given us for an emergency. He’s a smart guy, and when he gave us the heater, I distinctly remember thinking, I bet he thinks we’ll end up needing this thing one day, but I know we won’t.
I’m not going to say Daddy is always right, but he comes mighty damn close most of the time.
Another thing I remember, besides how incredibly cold a toilet seat gets when there is no heat in a house, is how I used the flat top surface of that kerosene heater to cook for those five days sans electricity. Of course, these weren’t our gourmet days, but we got by on cheese grits, beans, oatmeal and such. It was like camping indoors. I hate camping. I see no point in pretending to be homeless. I like electricity and warmth and all the glamorous things that go along with it like hot showers and warm toilet seats. I know, I’m so spoiled.
But anyhoo… one morning while (not) happily stirring the oatmeal on top of my little kerosene heater, it occurred to me… We have tons of oatmeal and baking supplies like cocoa powder, sugar and peanut butter. OMG I can make no bake oatmeal drop cookies.
And just like that, I knew it would all be OK. I knew we wouldn’t die deprived of sweet treats and I knew we would have lights and warmth again and all was well with the world.
I made a batch (or three) of those dreamy little cookies before our five camp-tastic days were done. They were the best cookies we ever had to date. Which proves that treats in a rather dismal situation really do help. You can get my version of that traditional recipe here.
Now, I don’t know how many batches of those cookies I’ve made with the lights on over the years, but believe me when I tell you I’ve made my fair share. They’re super simple to make gluten-free, too, because you just need to switch to certified gluten-free oats (if you can tolerate them, and yes, I know everyone can’t – I wrote all about that here and in my book, which I hope you buy if you haven’t already because it is awesome and will help you immensely on your gluten-free journey, I promise!).
Even after my peanut allergy reared it’s rude little face, I just subbed sunflower seed butter (you can make your own and I’ll show you how here) for the peanut butter and voila! back in business.
These days I have a Nutella lover in my house, and even though my nut allergy prevents me from partaking, who am I to stand between a girl and her Nutella?
One rainy cold evening in Normandy, I thought it’d be kinda’ nice to treat her with these cookies, subbing Nutella for sunflower seed butter (which you cannot find in France – I think this is near criminal). So I did, and I made a few other changes to the traditional recipe, too.
We didn’t even have to turn the lights off for me to figure this out. :)
Gluten-Free Nutella Oatmeal No Bake Drop Cookies
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cinnamon sugar (or 1 1/2 T. granulated sugar + 1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon)
- 3 Tablespoons butter (sub: dairy-free butter substitute)
- 2 Tablespoons milk (dairy or plant-based)
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- 10 large marshmallows
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup certified gluten-free oats
- Before you begin, have a large cookie sheet ready to spoon cookies onto. Line it with parchment if you like.
- Also have your Nutella, marshmallows, vanilla and oats measured and nearby so that you can add them quickly when it is time.
- In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine sugars, butter, milk and salt; stir as it melts.
- Allow mixture to come to a boil and without stirring boil for 3 minutes.
- Remove mixture from heat, add Nutella and stir until smooth, then add marshmallows and vanilla, then stir until marshmallows are almost completely melted, but a small amount of white shows through the chocolate mixture.
- Add oats and stir rapidly.
- Immediately spoon mixture onto prepared pan. Make the cookies any size you like. I scoop mine with a 1 1/2 T. cookie scoop, then slightly flatten the rounds as soon as I scoop them onto the pan. Leave about an inch between cookies.
- Cool completely at room temperature, then enjoy.
- These are also great when chilled.
- Store at room temperature or the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container up to 1 week.
The original No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie recipe, made my way without gluten, dairy or nuts…
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