No Bake Goodies

Yesterday was the day I have been waiting for for a very long time. My new computer arrived! My old one pooped out earlier this month, hence the lack of posts, but I plan on making up for that now that I’ve got technology back in my corner. So here it goes:

Earlier this month I felt inclined to put together a box of goodies for a thoughtful friend who more than deserved them. Anyone who knows me knows I love to bake, so my new high-altitude cookbook in tow, I began to plan out a few recipes I’d like to try. But there was one problem. The oven in the house I’m living in these days is probably at least fifty years old.

Look how pretty I am! But do I work…?

It’s a beautiful piece in a historic house. But unfortunately for my baking dreams, we were informed by the homeowners that it doesn’t function. So I was left with a dilemma. What can I make for my friends that’s sweet, but not-baked. A lot, apparently!

I hadn’t really dabbled in the world of no-bake treats until now, but boy did I find possibilities. I settled on three recipes, all of which turned out so well I thought I’d share them with you here:

Recipe #1: Vanilla Cake Batter Truffles

I found this recipe on an awesome blog called Love Veggies and Yoga. It was super easy and fun to put together and the final product was delicious. These are some very sweet treats, but if you’re a fan of cake batter, you’ll love them.

The ingredients as listed on the website are as follows:

1 c vanilla cake mix

1/4 c sweetened condensed milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp agave (optional and you can just use all sweetened condensed milk if you don’t have agave on hand)

1.5 to 2 c chocolate chips

However, I didn’t want to waste a whole box of cake mix and can of sweetened condensed milk, so I just eyed it and found that 1 can of sweetened condensed milk  was just about the right amount for one box of  cake mix, with just a bit of the cake mix left over. I also didn’t use the agave because I didn’t have any, and everything still tasted great. I can’t actually imagine these truffles being any sweeter. If you do choose to make the entire box worth of truffles, you’ll probably want to double the amount of chocolate chips. I had about 3 cups worth and found it wasn’t quite enough.

Back to the recipe:

 In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips, and stir to combine.

This mixture should be quite solid and not runny, but not so dry that you can’t mold it into balls.  If you find that your mixture is a little too runny, add a touch more cake mix.  If it’s a little too dry, add more sweetened condensed milk/agave.  I ended up using about 1.25 c of cake mix to get the perfect consistency.

Once again, I think it’s best to eye it here.

After you’ve made the dough, refrigerate or freeze for 15 minutes and then remove and roll into balls.

My batter and balls. I went for big truffles because I lack self-control. But you can make them any size you’d like!

After the balls have been made, refrigerate or freeze for 15 minutes or until well-chilled, ensuring the melted chocolate will adhere and set up properly.

Melt the chocolate chips, and dip the chilled cake batter balls into melted chocolate.  Using parchment paper is a tip I’d recommend when working with melted chocolate.  Place truffles in freezer or fridge to set up.

Since I’d never made any sort of candy before, I was a bit nervous about a messy dipping scenario. But it was much easier than I thought it would be. I used two wooden spoons to roll the cake batter balls around in the chocolate and used parchment paper as the recipe suggested and everything turned out great.

Mid truffle dipping

What I really loved about these truffles are the versatility of them. Although the recipe calls for vanilla cake mix, I imagine you can use any flavor. I can’t wait to experiment with chocolate, red velvet, funfetti, coconut and strawberry. You could make an awesome assortment of these things. You could also make them a bit healthier by using a gluten-free or vegan mix. Experimenting with different chocolates would be fun too. I used milk chocolate this time because it’s my favorite, but I bet these would be awesome (and a bit better for you) with dark chocolate. White chocolate would be super sweet but great for a dark chocolate cake batter, and I think rolling them in nuts or coconut or even sprinkles would be awesome too. If you try any fun variations, let me know!

The finished product

A note about storage: I kept mine at room temperature and they were fine, however, they expanded a bit and became less condensed and more fluffy. I found I actually preferred this taste as it was a little bit lighter a flavor and not quite as rich. The downside to this though was that as the filling expanded some of it broke out of the chocolate shell. They kept their shape and didn’t fall apart, there was just a bit of truffle on the outside of the chocolate. If presentation is important to you or if you prefer a richer taste, keep these chilled in the fridge or freezer.

Recipe #2: Rocky Road Squares

I put this recipe together based on a bunch of rocky road-themed stuff I found on the internet. These chocolate treats were a great balance for the super-sweet truffles and came out with a delicious, surprisingly smooth texture.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup margarine

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

2 cups chocolate chips

8 ounces white mini marshmallows

In a large pot, melt margarine over medium low heat. Add peanut butter, stir until melted. Add chocolate chips, stir until smooth.

Ingredients mixed and melted

Remove from heat. Do NOT stir in the marshmallows until you can hold your hand on the bottom of the pot, otherwise they’ll melt and you’ll loose the cool, varied texture they bring to the chocolate. You don’t want to wait so long that the mixture hardens though. You only need to wait a few minutes, the bottom of the pot should still be warm.

Spoon into a Pam sprayed 9×13 pan. Or for a thicker, fudge-like batch use a smaller pan.

Chill, slice, and serve!

Yum yum done!

A note about storage: Like the truffles, I kept these at room temperature and they were fine. The margarine in this recipe creates a creamy, but pretty soft chocolate that I think went really nicely with the peanuts and marshmallows. However, because the chocolate is soft it may stick to your fingers and other pieces a little bit. If you prefer your chocolate with a firmer texture, store chilled in the fridge or freezer.

Recipe #3: Rice Krispie Treats

Come on, no no-bake collection could be complete without a classic rice krispie treat! Once again I put this recipe together based on lots of tips and tricks found on the internet. I was really happy with the result.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

4 cups miniature marshmallows

5 cups crisp rice cereal

 Melt margarine in large sauce pan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted and well blended. This may take a while. Stir constantly. Remove from heat.
Marshmallows pre-melt
Add cereal. Stir until well coated.
Press mixture evenly and firmly in buttered 13 x 9 inch pan. Cool, cut, and serve!
Ready to eat

These kept great at room temperature, covered in tin foil, for the several days it took A and I to finish off the leftovers we couldn’t fit in the tin to mail away. For extra thick treats, double the recipe or half the size of the pan you press the mixture into. I found these perfectly sized for my sweet tooth, however.

Let me know if you end up trying any of these recipes!

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