Baking cookies is a holiday tradition for so many people.
Counters covered with bags of flour, sugar, chocolate, and nuts; cooling racks laden with various cookie varieties; and ovens cranking away are all signs of the season. But you don’t have to turn on your oven to enjoy delicious homemade holiday cookies. Our no-bake cookies are easy to make and yield delicious results worthy of holiday cookie swaps and cookie plates.
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No-Bake Peanut Butter–Chocolate Cookies with Oats
You might recognize the oat-based peanut butter–chocolate cookies from childhood church gatherings or potlucks. Also called “preacher cookies” or “cow patties,” they are the iconic no-bake cookie.
Historically, it was common for preachers to visit their church members’ homes. According to legend, “preacher cookies” received their name from housewives who could see the preacher riding a horse from a distance away, heading toward their homes. Due to their utter simplicity and pantry-friendly ingredients, these peanut butter–chocolate cookies could be made from start to finish by the time the preacher arrived at the door. The cookies gained popularity in the 1950s.
For our version, we opt for natural unsweetened cocoa powder, which we found yielded creamier no-bake cookies than Dutch-processed cocoa powder. We also use dark brown sugar, which creates a softer texture than granulated sugar and adds a hint of molasses flavor.
The Perfect CookieThe definitive hardbound go-to resource for any cookie or bar you could imagine making, based on 25 years of experience in the pursuit of the perfect cookie recipes.
The mixture is boiled on the stovetop until it reaches 230 degrees, which ensures that all the sugar dissolves and the mixture sets properly. A combination of peanut butter and quick oats (which soften more readily than old‑fashioned) is then stirred into the hot sugar mixture.
Once scooped and set aside to firm, the resulting treats are fudgy and decadent, not unlike peanut butter cups in cookie form.
No-Bake Peanut Butter–Chocolate Cookies with OatsThe iconic no-bake cookie.
No-Bake Cherry-Amaretto Cookies
Our cherry-amaretto cookies are infused with the complementary flavors of cherries and amaretto for a boozy, sophisticated no-bake cookie. Amaretto is made from almonds, which are botanically related to cherries/stone fruit.
The dough is a mixture of ground vanilla wafer cookies and sweetened coconut flakes, bound with corn syrup, which creates a silky texture and pleasing chew. Rolled in toasted coconut for extra flavor and crunch and then chilled before serving, these cookies have the satisfying, chewy texture of cookie dough, plus a hint of booziness and a burst of cherry flavor.
No-Bake Cherry-Amaretto CookiesA sophisticated fruity cookie.
No-Bake Fudgy Chocolate Squares
Finally, for something extra-chocolaty, there’s our fudgy chocolate squares, which resemble melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles.
We start by melting semisweet chocolate chips and butter as a binder and fold in finely ground Oreo cookies and sweetened condensed milk to create a luxurious, creamy base. After they’re refrigerated until firm, the cookies are topped with more melted chocolate and cut into decadent bite-size pieces.