For some, holiday baking is a tradition and a joy. For others, it's one more thing on a long list of seasonal responsibilities that needs to get checked off. What if you could check that holiday baking box a little more quickly by contributing a sweet or two to the holiday dessert platter without actually baking?
You can — if you make no-bake cookies, barks and balls. They're ready in a fraction of the time it takes to bake dozens and dozens of cookies.
Even if you love to bake, you may want to add a few of these no-bake treats to the dessert table simply because they're so good.
1. Salted Dried Cranberry-Hazelnut Chocolate Bark: It takes about 10 minutes to melt the chocolate and pour it over the other ingredients on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. The rest of the work is totally hands-off on this bark that you can make with milk or dark chocolate.
2. Rum Balls: Keep these away from the kids. There's a bit more rum (or substitute bourbon if you like) in these than in some other recipes. All ingredients come together in a saucepan before being rolled together and left to cool. Definitely make these a couple of days in advance to let all the flavors come together.
3. No-Bake Praline Cookies: These seem more like a candy than a cookie, but whatever you call them, they'll be welcome on a dessert tray. All the ingredients, including pecans and shredded coconut, are mixed together in a pot until boiling and then dropped by spoonfuls onto parchment until the cookie-shaped treats cool and harden.
Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Chocolate Popcorn Balls ... what more do you need to know? (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)
4. Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Chocolate Popcorn Balls: The name says it all. The sweet comes from honey and chocolate chips. The salty comes from peanut butter and pretzel pieces. And, if you don't have the time to pop the popcorn, you could get away with using a low-salt, organic, already popped bagged popcorn and you wouldn't have to tell anyone.
5. Christmas Bark: Just as easy as the Salted Dried-Cranberry Hazelnut Bark above, but this one uses white chocolate chips, cranberries and pistachios, and the red and green of the fruit and nuts give the bark a festive look.
6. Gluten-Free, No-Bake Brownie Balls: Dates, almonds, cocoa and honey (use maple syrup instead and these become vegan) go into a food processor and come out as a batter that you roll into balls and dust with powdered sugar. That's it. You're done.
7. No-Bake Snowball Cookies: These are more ball than a cookie, but butter, oats and cocoa are combined and rolled into balls, then covered in coconut for a snowball effect.