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I'm looking at a pretty standard no-bake cookie recipe (this one uses brown sugar over white but I've seen the same recipe on at least 10 websites),

3 C oats
5 tbsp peanut butter
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 C brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter 

The instructions are boil milk, sugar, butter together for one minute then mix other ingredients in, drop onto wax paper, and cool.

My question is this: How would different dairies affect a recipe like this? Like if I used cream or condensed milk (or some combination of the 3) rather than the milk?

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    Considering the relative low cost of the ingredients, this would be a fun thing for you to experiment with. – Catija Feb 16 '17 at 16:09
  • @Catija I might simply do that and post the results here. Any idea on proportions? – Patrick Schomburg Feb 16 '17 at 16:51
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    It's only a 1/2 cup milk... you could probably even do half batches if you wanted... then use the same amounts... once you get a base line for what happens, then start mucking with volumes. That's sort of how recipe testing works in my head... you need to only change one thing at a time so you can understand exactly what that change did. If you change the volume and the ingredient, you won't know whether to ascribe the different result to the change in volume or to the ingredient change. :) – Catija Feb 16 '17 at 17:00
  • We've used evaporated milk for decades. Can't say about condensed milk, but doesn't that have added sugar? – user3169 Feb 17 '17 at 4:18
  • No chocolate? A link to a similar recipe would be nice. – user3169 Feb 17 '17 at 4:18
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The primary difference between cream, condensed milk*, and regular milk is fat content. Cream has the most fat (about 36% fat), then condensed milk (about 9% fat), and finally, regular whole milk (about 3% fat). A cup of cream has about 12 times more fat than whole milk!

Increasing the fat percentage in your cookie dough will lead to a softer cookie. I imagine cookies made with cream would be especially spread out and soft, whereas cookies made with condensed or evaporated milk would be somewhere in the middle in terms of softness.

Substituting these ingredients may be useful if your cookies are turning out harder than you want them to be. However, it's also possible that these modified cookies may not hold together as well as the original recipe.

*As mentioned, using sweetened condensed milk instead of condensed or evaporated milk would require you to dial back on your sugar content, otherwise you will get a much sweeter cookie.

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Using condensed milk would definitely make the cookies much, much sweeter and may not be moist enough in the same volume to make the cookies. Using the condensed milk could require more care on the stove since it would probably be easier to burn. If it browns a bit in the pan it could also impart a burnt sugar/brûlée like flavor, which might add a nice complexity to the recipe.

The cream would just make the cookies a lot more oily, which would probably result in a moister cookie that doesn't harden as well.

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