Cookies are a popular item whether served as an everyday dessert or as a special treat. They make excellent homemade gifts and they keep very well. Baking batches of cookies can make your kitchen extremely hot. Skip the heat with no-bake cookies that you can whip together in minutes. Arrange them on a pretty platter or wrap them in colorful cellophane and add personalized product labels for gift-giving.
No-Bake Date-Coconut Bar Cookies
One of the easiest no-bake cookie recipes relies on the sweet stickiness of dates to hold their shape. These no-bake bar cookies are healthy and taste great. Each cookie contains as much fiber as a serving of bran cereal. Sprinkle three tablespoons of finely shredded coconut flakes in a standard square baking dish. Dates are quite sweet, so choose unsweetened coconut for the cookie base. If you like, you can toast the coconut to a light golden brown in a skillet first.
Spread a pound of soft pitted dates -- Medjool dates are perfect for this recipe -- over the coconut and press the date layer flat so it melds with the coconut. Add chopped walnuts or almonds to the cookies, pressing the nut pieces into the dates. Finish with another layer of coconut or a dusting of powdered sugar to make the cookies easier to handle. Refrigerate the bars for an hour or two before slicing them and arranging them on a plate.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
These dense no-bake chocolate-peanut butter bars fall somewhere between brownies and fudge. Present your favorite peanut butter fan with a platter of these bar cookies and you'll win a friend for life. Crush two cups of graham crackers in a food processor, then mix the crumbs with a cup of melted butter, a cup of your favorite peanut butter and two cups of confectioner's sugar. The finished product should have a dough-like consistency. Press the peanut butter mixture into a baking dish and refrigerate it for an hour before making the chocolate layer. The starch in the confectioner's sugar and the crumbs will help the mixture set firmly in the refrigerator.
To make the chocolate topping, melt a cup and a half of chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat, then add two to three tablespoons of heavy cream to make a chocolate ganache. Pour the ganache over the peanut butter and place the pan back in the refrigerator for at least two hours before slicing the bar cookies.
Apple Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies
Oatmeal gives these cookies a great crunchy texture, while apples and cinnamon offer an unexpected flavor twist. Combine a stick of butter with a cup of sugar and half a cup of grated fresh apple in a saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and add about a teaspoon of cinnamon to taste. Let the mixture come back to a rolling boil for two to three minutes or until the sugar and cinnamon combine completely. Quickly stir in a cup and a half of rolled oats, half a cup of chopped nuts, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. While the cookie dough is still hot, drop it onto parchment paper and press the top of each cookie with a spoon to help it spread. As the cookies cool, they'll become firm and crisp.
All cookies are at their best when they're fresh, so serve no-bake cookies or wrap them as gifts shortly after you prepare them. Cookie tins are perfect for storing and delivering cookies; personalize them with decorative product labels and include an ingredient list. Layers of parchment paper keep a tin of cookies from sticking together.
Jessica is an online printing specialist. When she is not writing for Print360.com, you can find her cooking up a storm in her kitchen.
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