On any given Wednesday night, my apartment is full of college students. All evening long the front door seems to be revolving as car loads of new and old friends, who feel more and more like family, come piling in to be welcomed with my catch phrase, "Welcome home!" Having recently graduated college, I know the feeling of searching for home. I know, I know. It's where your heart is. But during these four years, your heart may be torn between a bunch of places; your hometown, your new school, the city you studied abroad in, etc. And I remember the longing to be in an actual house, off campus, out of the dorms, with a home-cooked meal. Something about home cooking brings the feeling of home. It is always my wish that my apartment is a place where my friends can feel and make themselves at home. And so every Wednesday, I welcome my church's college bible study with a heart-felt meal and "Welcome home!"
There are a couple of us who alternate cooking for the group. There are about fifteen of us making up the college group in total, four of which are vegan, and two of those vegans are also gluten-free. Not being vegan or gluten-free myself, cooking for this small army has been a fun challenge. Feeding others is my love language, and let me tell you, it's challenging to serve up love, especially dessert, without using eggs or flour.
Nevertheless, the three of us cooking are taking the new challenge as a fun experiment! For me, last week, this meant coming up with a way to make vegan, gluten-free, no-bake cookies. They were so yummy (I might have actually liked them better than regular no-bake cookies), that a couple of the girls asked me to share the recipe! So here it is! However, there are no pictures of these babies, because my friends ate them all before I had a chance to snap a picture!
Here's the main difference: I replaced the butter usually called for with extra peanut butter (yum!) and substituted almond milk for whole milk. While substituting peanut butter for butter didn't cut any calories (they both run about 100 calories/tablespoon), it does increase the protein in these cookies (butter has 0 grams of protein, replacing it with peanut butter adds 28 grams of protein to this recipe!). Also, almond milk has fewer than half the calories of whole milk and more calcium and vitamin D. Basically, I'm giving you a recipe for chocolaty granola bars. You can eat them for breakfast or dessert!
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup smooth peanut butter
4 rounded tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups Old Fashioned Quaker Oats
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except oats on medium heat. Stir continually until totally melted and mixed together. Remove from heat and stir in oats. Drop the cookie mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.