Preacher Cookies

Preacher Cookies

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I remember growing up as a little girl in Southern West Virginia and on good weather Saturday mornings after we cleaned our postage stamp size house, my two sisters and I would head to up the street to Cathy’s house to help her with her chores, so she could get finished faster, and we all could head to the mountain and lose ourselves in our enchanted kingdom we called ‘King Wensels Palace’~~KWP was our clubhouse, it was simply a huge true with exposed gnarly large curved roots, often covered in emerald green velvety soft moss patches.  There was rough crusty bark with deep ridges on the roots, and the smell, feel and taste of cool earthen dirt, leaves, and twigs wafted about us.  This was truly the magic of nature.  We’d spend hours in the mountains, and I know that much of my imaginative nature was cultivated from this ‘gift’ of not having much and having to use my creative juices in this make-believe world.

We’d walk up to Cathy’s house, open the creeky-sounding torn screen door, no knock was needed, tip toe past the old metal table in the small kitchen, and usually always see sitting there a pile of ‘Preacher Cookies’ Cathy’s Daddy, a coal miner, had made probably the batch earlier that morning.  They were shimmering chocolate patties, like cow patties {thought to be the original name}, and we could smell the scent of peanut butter and chocolate.  These cookies were popular in Appalachia, and the name, according to ‘The Hillbilly Housewife’, came about because they could be prepared so quickly~~when a housewife looked out her window and saw the preacher riding up the mountain on his horse, she’d scramble to have something to serve. By the time the preacher arrived, the cookies were cooling.  I’ve ‘boho’d’ mine just a tad from the original recipe by adding walnuts, ‘crunchy’ peanut butter and finishing sea salt~~but, if you want to be a purist, then just omit them!

Preacher Cookies

Makes: 3+ dozen 

What you need

1 ½ cups sugar

4 heaping tbl cocoa

1 stick (8 tbl) salted butter

½ cup milk

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 tbl vanilla

3 cups oatmeal (not quick cook type)

1 cup chopped walnuts

Sea Salt Finishing Flakes

Preacher Cookies

Preacher Cookies

What you do:

Combine the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a large heavy pot.   Bring to a boil for one minute.  Add the peanut butter, vanilla, oatmeal and chopped walnuts.

Spoon mixture on parchment paper by the heaping tablespoonsful.  Do a few at a time, then immediately sprinkle with some sea salt.  Continue until all the cookies are done.  Cookies will cool and harden.

Preacher Cookies



  1. Cant wait to try these!! What part of wVa? I grew up in south Charleston.

    • Such a small world!! I’m from Logan County! Thanks for swinging by. Hey, we didn’t have drive over those mountains to meet!! Plese come back often, luv! ??

  2. Alice, I used to make these cookies with my Kindergarten kids at South Man Grade…..minus the walnuts. I also used creamy peanut butter.
    Not sure who Cathy is, nor did I know about your mountain climbing! You never cease to amaze me!!! I love to read about your cooking adventures!
    Love you,

    • Sue! I’m soooooooo glad you read this post…Cathy Browning…she lived up the street from us…here daddy, Hershey, made THE best preacher cookies…and, oh, yes, our mountain climbing was always a Saturday adventure…thank you, my long dear lifetime friend…love you too!!!

  3. Merry Graham

    Loved your story so much! I could picture the whole scene! Thank you. I had a version of this cookie served in the cafeteria at my elementary school. The no-bake chocolate oat cookie was one of my FAVEs! Walnuts were too expensive to toss out to the elementary kids but all of the rest of the ingredients were tucked in there.

    • Merry Merry! Oh, we have so much in common even though we’re living on different coasts! Our food is our connecting DNA that made us fall in love…of course, I’d adore you even if you couldn’t boil water!! Walnuts came later when we were in ‘high cotton’! ha ha! xoxo

  4. These look yummy! And so easy!

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