Save Time with No-Bake Cookies

Whether you don't want to heat up the kitchen or the demands of getting the kids out the door are upon you, it's nice to have a few no-bake cookie recipes on hand. We thought we would share some of our favorites with you.

Cranberry Coconut Bars

This first recipe, Cranberry Coconut Bars, is more of a big kid cookie-it has too much fruit and too many nuts in it to suit most youngsters. But it so scrumptious and easy, we had to include it. If you are making a lunch for a spouse or a teenager, we think this will be a hit. Of course, it doesn't have to go in a lunch pail.

This is a microwave cookie that can be mixed right in the baking pan. How's that for convenience?

If you are not fond of dried cranberries, consider substituting dates, raisins, or chopped apricot pieces in this recipe.

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup quick rolled oats

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1/2 cup walnut pieces

Directions

1. Place butter in an 8-inch square, microwave-safe baking dish. Microwave until the butter is melted.

2. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Press the mixture firmly into the dish.

3. Microwave for three to five minutes or until lightly browned. If your microwave does not have a rotating carousel, rotate the dish twice during cooking.

4. Let the cookies cool and then cut them into bars with a sharp knife. Wrap them individually to pack in a lunch.

This recipe will make sixteen 2 x 2-inch squares.

This next recipe makes a great kid cookie. It's almost confection-like but is so packed with energy and hearty oats that you won't mind giving your youngster a few. This cookie is best with a tall glass of milk.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Drops

This is a range-top cookie. Because it is a no-baker and so full of energy, it makes a great camping cookie.

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cocoa

2 1/2 cup quick oats

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. Combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook for two more minutes stirring constantly and then remove the pan from the heat.

2. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla, then the oats.

3. Let cool for several minutes and then drop spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the waxed paper.

More No-Bakers

When thinking of no-bake cookies, don't forget the perennial favorites, Rice Krispie Treats and Frosted Graham Crackers. We're assuming everyone has the recipe for Rice Krispie Treats. Consider adding chocolate chips, dried fruit pieces, or cinnamon candies for a little pizzazz.

To make Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats, melt 2/3 cup chocolate chips (for a recipe calling for six cups of cereal) with the marshmallows and butter. This is a real favorite-our kids like these more than regular Rice Krispie Treats and they are no more difficult to make.

For Frosted Graham Crackers, simply pick your favorite frosting and sandwich that between two graham cracker squares. Pick a frosting with a powdered-sugar base that will set up firm and won't be messy.

Dennis Weaver is the general manager at The Prepared Pantry (http://www.preparedpantry.com) with recipes, ideas, and the best selection of mixes and ingredients. Visit the free Bakers' Library for more articles like this, free baking guides, and tested recipes.

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