Tag Archives: no-bake

Crispy Brown Rice Skillet Cookies

We went to a minor league baseball game the other night and it was apparently “Christmas in July” night.  The ushers were dressed as elves, Santa was there, and they had the big, inflatable snow globes running.  My kids were a bit confused when I told them that Christmas in July is just something that people … do.  I have no idea why.  I remember being a kid on a camping trip and everyone had their campsites decorated for Christmas.  I was probably just as confused as my kids were.

When you become a parent you know that, eventually, you are going to have to explain sex and death and astronomy.  But who the hell ever prepares to answer why we celebrate Christmas in July?  Well kids, maybe it’s because we are past the halfway point of the year — meaning that Christmas shopping needs to start?  Or maybe because we are so hot and are thinking about Christmas to cool off?  Or maybe because the stupid little Christmas shops in beach towns need a cash infusion?  The possibilities are endless and I really don’t want to spend any more intellectual bandwidth thinking about it.

But then I realized I made a Christmas cookie recipe the other day (*before* the game).  Why did I do it?  Was I subconsciously celebrating Christmas in July?  Maybe this stupid tradition is hardwired into people as they get older.  Maybe we realize that once you get to the 4th of July that it might as well be Christmas … Maybe Christmas in July is a deep, existential expression of the speed of *life* and our own mortality?

Or maybe I was just really hungry for these cookies.

Crispy Brown Rice Skillet Cookies

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3/4 cup sugar (you can use up to 1 cup, but I find that to be way too sweet)
1 cup chopped dates
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups crisp brown rice cereal (or regular Rice Krispies)
Powdered sugar

1.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Add sugar and dates and cook for 4-6 minutes until bubbly and mixture is darkening and become caramelized.  Remove from heat.

2.  Take a few tablespoons of the butter/sugar/date mixture and stir into beaten egg in order to temper it (so it won’t scramble when you add it in).  Whisk egg mixture back into date mixture and and stir well to combine.  Put back on the heat and cook 1 or 2 minutes more until bubbly.

3.  Stir in vanilla extract and rice cereal with a wooden spoon.  Make sure cereal is completely incorporated into date mixture (sort of like rice krispy treats at this point).  Let cool a few minutes.

4.  Take a spoonful of the mixture and drop it into powdered sugar (this will help it to cool quickly and not be too sticky).  Using your hands, roll into a ball and cover in additional powdered sugar, if desired.  Repeat with remaining mixture. (You can also spread these into a baking dish and cut into bars to make it easier.)  Store in the refrigerator.


Mama Pick-Me-Up Cookies

One afternoon last week, I was putting something away in my baking cabinet and I spied a bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans that I had forgotten about.  The evil wheels in my brain started turning and I instantly thought about cookies.  And given the caffeinated nature of espresso beans (have you ever seen a two year old try to climb the walls of a bath tub?), I started thinking “what if I could come up with an easy, super nutritious cookie for moms only?”  OK, so maybe dads could have it, too.  And I started with the goal of lots of whole grain, chocolate, and espresso beans — and done in a no-bake method to keep it quick and easy (remember those no-bake cookies we all ate growing up?)  


These fit the bill in many ways — whole oats, ground flax, no added sugar (other than the chocolate), some sunbutter and pumpkin seeds for protein, the espresso beans to get you through three different soccer practices on three different sides of town, and a sprinkling of sea salt to cover the salty and sweet craving.  Hell, these are almost nutritious enough to call granola bars.  Your choice of whether you eat them for breakfast or dessert.   The only thing I couldn’t squeeze in here was a glass of red wine — I’ll try to do better next time.

(And BTW, any reference to a particular cookie made by the Chef on South Park is purely unintentional.  Yet, still funny.)

Mama Pick-Me-Up Cookies

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup of ground flax
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup of sunbutter (or other nut butter of your choice)
1/2 cup of salted pumpkin seeds (or other nut/seed of your choice)
3/4 cup of chocolate-covered espresso beans 
Sea Salt to sprinkle on top (optional) 

1.  Melt butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat until completely smooth.  

2.  Add in sunbutter and salt and stir until incorporated.  

3.  Remove from heat and add in oats and flax and stir well.

4.  Chill for 20 minutes (use the freezer to speed it up) and when cool, stir in chocolate-covered espresso beans and pumpkin seeds. (If you are particularly concerned about each cookie getting a similar number of espresso beans, you can put  a few in by hand during the next step.)

5.  Line a baking sheet with parchment and take one heaping tablespoon full of cookie mixture and form it into a ball and drop onto parchment (if mixture isn’t cool enough, it will be harder to form into nice little balls — but neatness is overrated).  Sprinkle each cookie with a bit of sea salt (if you like…)

6.  Chill for another 20-30 minutes until firm.  Store in the refrigerator or freezer.   Eat over the sink while no one is watching (they’re crumbly).