Three no-bake cookie recipes

Kids love cookies, but moms are often too busy to bother baking them in the summer. But wouldn’t it be great if kids could make their own? The first recipe does not require baking at all. The second recipe uses a stove and the third recipe only needs a microwave. Because these don’t bake, you don’t have to worry about ingredient chemistry. That makes them pretty much a complete test!

RECIPE 1 NO-BAKE COOKIE DOUGH: Here’s a variation on a no-bake cookie. The recipe calls for ¼ cup of cream butter with 1/3 cup of brown sugar. If you don’t have brown sugar, use regular sugar. (If you’re a purist, add a teaspoon of molasses or maple extract.) Add 1 cup of oatmeal, 7 ounces of sweetened condensed milk, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add ½ cup of potato chips or walnuts or ¼ cup of each. Shape dough into 1-inch round balls or use a cookie scoop. Place on wax paper and chill for about an hour. With a scoop the size of a tablespoon, you should get about 25 cookies.

I collect different chips throughout the year to use in decorating cookies at Christmas. So I have coffee, peanut butter, red cherry, spearmint, yogurt, and caramel flavored chips that I like to use for variety and color. I also keep different chopped nuts in the refrigerator. Mix and match to your heart’s content to make the last half cup.

I call the standard no-bake cookies my “kitchen sink cookies” because I like to add whatever I have on hand to them. The only concern is maintaining a balance between the wet and dry ingredients, so that they will harden when cool.

RECIPE 2 NO-BAKE STANDARD COOKIES: Besides nuts and chips, I also like to add coconut flakes. For anyone allergic to chocolate, I have adapted this recipe from carob powder. So mix 2 cups of sugar with ½ cup of milk, butter, and carob powder in a skillet. If you use cocoa, only use ¼ cup of cocoa powder. Cook for one minute after it boils. Add ½ cup of chunky or plain peanut butter, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 3 cups of oatmeal. Drop on wax paper and cool. Try different extracts, like cinnamon or peppermint, but use less than a teaspoon. I have caramel scents on hand that only require a few drops to get a great flavor.

Oatmeal absorbs a lot of moisture, so I use a little less if I add nuts or coconut chips or flakes. The recipe is quite forgiving and allows for a lot of experimentation. If you are missing oatmeal, dig into the bottom of a cereal box and use the crumbs from that to get all 3 cups. You can also crush up some cereal, graham crackers, or vanilla wafers to compensate.

3 UNBAKED STRAWBERRY BALLS RECIPE: Now, out of sheer decadence, here’s a recipe that only makes a dozen cookies. You can double the recipe, but they are very tasty. Microwave on low to melt ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips and cool (or use ¼ cup carob powder and skip microwave). If the chips don’t melt (and some don’t), just grind them into powder. Mix 2 ounces of cream cheese. Add 1 large chopped strawberry. (I have also used 5-6 raspberries).

Add 20 crushed vanilla wafers. Use more wafers if the batter is too thin. Refrigerate 2 hours until firm, then roll into 1-inch balls. Microwave some Candy Melt Flavored Fries until melted (use defrost setting for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes) and dip the chilled balls into the melted fries. Place on waxed paper and refrigerate until set. I rate these PGs for mature audiences. They can be richer than your younger children can appreciate!