Monday, December 28, 2009

No-Bake Cookie Twofer: Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies and Coconut Bon-Bons

Plateful of Christmas CookiesImage via Wikipedia

I hate to cook, but I quite like to bake. This really doesn't work out well for me because we don't have an oven here in Costa Rica. What's a girl to do for delicious baked goods during the holidays without an oven? Buy them at the local bakery? Nope. The bakeries here don't make anything good (in my opinion) besides doughnuts and whole cakes; everything else is dry and brittle, full of hydrogenated oils (trans fats), and/or tasteless. Costa Ricans also seem to be generally confused about chocolate; for some reason they think it's supposed to be made with shortening and have no taste of cocoa whatsoever. The result is much like the oily and rubber-like "icing" top on a Hostess cupcake. No thank you.

My solution to the no-oven dilemma? No-bake cookies! That's right, cookies made entirely on the stovetop. Quick, easy, delicious.

These first cookies, I'll admit, don't look that great, but they *do* taste good. A variation that I tried with half the batch is to roll them into balls instead of just plopping them onto the wax paper. Let them chill in the fridge an hour or two and then roll them in powdered sugar, so they end up looking like doughnut holes. The result is a much prettier, still tasty cookie that looks nice when paired with the bon-bons in the following recipe. Almost like I planned them to go together.

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 Tbs cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter (optional but recommended)
3 cups rolled oats (or sub rice krispies cereal)
1 cup powdered sugar (optional)

  1. Combine all ingredients except peanut butter and oats in an medium-size pot and cook over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
  2. Let boil for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and oats.
  4. Spoon out quickly onto wax paper or aluminum foil.
  5. (optional) Refrigerate for 20 minutes to an hour, then roll into balls and coat with powdered sugar.
  6. Cookies will harden as they set.

Coconut Bon-Bons

1 (15 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter margarine
2 1/2 cups sugar (powdered works best, but either will do.)
1 (12 ounce) package shredded coconut
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup whole milk/cream/condensed milk
1 cup crumbled or ground peanuts

  1. Mix together condensed milk, butter, 2 cups sugar, and coconut. Cover with wax paper and chill for 24 hours.
  2. In medium-sized saucepan, combine cocoa powder, milk, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool 20 minutes.

  3. Roll coconut mixture into 3/4-inch balls and dip into chocolate.
  4. (optional) Roll in nuts.
  5. Place on wax paper to cool and dry.

Serving suggestion: Ever had frozen bon-bons? These are better; I guarantee it. Freeze them. You'll thank me. There's a reason there's only 1 left.

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