Don’t you just love it when you have no time or inclination to bake, but can come up with a terrific cookie anyway? That’s what a no-bake cookie recipe is all about.

Besides being a time-saver, a no-bake cookie has the reputation of being fairly easy to make, so much so that you can supposedly delegate their making to a family member. But for a cookie that’s supposed to be easy, many of us know that no bake cookies can come with a few problems!

Dry and crumbly. Sticky and gooey. If you can relate, then you’ll be glad to hear that there’s a lot of well-researched information online as to why good no bake cookie recipes go wrong. For instance, the pros at Recipe Lion ( have this to say about those dry and crumbly no-bakes:

“Most no bake cookie recipes call for melting together butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa. Then you bring the mixture to a boil. The most common reason for dry no bake cookies is boiling the mixture for too long. If you overcook sugar in a recipe like this, it turns into a crumbly mess. A good baseline is boiling the cookies for 1-2 minutes (start timing once the mixture is at a full boil). If you’ve made your no bake cookies too dry in the past, aim for closer to 1 minute.”

And for sticky and gooey no-bakes?

“The most common reason for gooey no bake cookies is not boiling the mixture for long enough. Your cookies won’t hold together if the sugar doesn’t reach soft ball stage. If you have had problems with runny cookies in the past, try cooking the mixture for longer on the stovetop. And always be sure to use the type of oats the recipe calls for. Don’t use rolled oats when the recipe says to use quick cooking or instant! Most no bake cookie recipes use instant or quick cooking oats for a softer, less chewy texture.”

The Recipe Lion folks also add that in rainy or very humid weather, there can be too much moisture in the air for a no-bake cookie to set properly, whatever recipe you’re using. So, it’s smart to factor that in as well.

All this said, you have to admit that one of the coolest things about a no bake cookie is that they tend to use ingredients we generally have on hand—no Martha-Stewartish rare or expensive ingredients are needed here. Thus, potential problems aside, a good no-bake cookie recipe is definitely one trick you want up your culinary sleeve.

And speaking of a good no-bake recipe, here’s one that is a tried-and-true crowd pleaser. A departure from the proverbial oatmeal and cocoa no-bake, this super easy cookie is destined to be a family favorite for sure.

I’ll close with a no-bake tip of my own: During citrus season (winter months in the United States), take the time to zest your orange before peeling and eating it. Then spread the zest in-between a couple small pieces of plastic wrap, fold up tightly, and freeze. Citrus zest will keep well frozen for up to a year. I’ve found that I’m more inclined to make this cookie when the zest is handy.

Tropical Orange and Coconut Balls


3 1/2 cups vanilla wafers cookie crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate thawed, undiluted
1/2 cup butter melted
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 1/2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut

In the mixing bowl of your stand-type mixer, combine the cookie crumbs, powdered sugar, and chopped pecans. Mix in the orange juice, melted butter, and zest. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes. Shape into one-inch balls and roll in the coconut. Place the cookies in the refrigerator to become firm.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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