What to have on hand during the holidays


It’s no secret that I love sweets. I am a bonafide cookie junkie, just like my dad. Chocolate chip, peanut butter, sugar cookies … I’ve never met a cookie I don’t adore.

And they love me, too.

December is the most awful time of year for people like me; the devil on my shoulder is a big, blue, hairy, googly-eyed dude who mutters, “coo-keys,” while the angel on the other shoulder reminds me of the train wreck that is my waistline. Woe is me, indeed.

And the winner is … definitely not the angel. I make no-bake cookies all the time. They are delicious, easy to make and easy to pawn off on to unsuspecting nisugar cookieseces and nephews (insert mischievous laugh here).

I typically don’t get a lot of random people stopping by for unannounced visits during the holidays, but family is a different story. I’ve decided that while I love spending tons of time with my family, I also love paybacks. Here’s the perfect example: my brother and sister-in-law drop by out of the blue because “they love me.” They bring the kids, both of whom are under age 5. Since I “love them too,” I should probably offer them delicious treats I have on hand for the holidays, right?

hot chocolate with whipped creamNothing says ‘I love you’ more than feeding your siblings’ kids a bunch of sugar so they’re all hyped-up the rest of the evening. It’s a win-win for me … The kids love Aunt Nen for giving them treats, while their dad (Aunt Nen’s beloved brother) gets to manage their glorious sugar high.

To my little brother: You know I love you with every fiber of my being, but I love messing with you just a smidge more. And to my lovely sister-in-law: I’m so sorry you are caught in the middle. Love you.

Go make something awesome,
a.k.a. Aunt Nen

No-bake Cookies

  • 1-3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 4 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, salt and vanilla. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened, at least 20 minutes. Store in airtight container, if you have leftovers after the kids stop by.

Get more "Ask Jen" in your inbox each week by getting Around the Table.

It's a FREE weekly e-newsletter all about food. Sign Up Today!



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.