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Divas on a Dime: Confessions of a no-bake cookie connoisseur

You know those times when you crave something sweet and only a homemade treat will do? I must admit, this happens to me all the time. I just need that “quick cookie fix.” But with the summer heat, this calls for a no-bake cookie recipe. Why heat up the house if we don’t have to?

When it comes to no-bake cookies, I’ve probably tried them all. And I love them all. Most no-bake recipes call for melting chocolate, marshmallows or peanut butter and mixing in things like oatmeal or cereal. But I must confess, I’m addicted to a simple recipe that’s even better. One that I’m powerless to resist. If you love an easy no-bake recipe that is part cookie, part candy, you’re going to love this.

Buckle up buttercup because we’re making Praline Cookies. They have a creamy, caramelly, almost fudge-like consistency. The nuts and coconut give beautiful texture.

When I think of praline, I think of New Orleans. So, if you’re a praline purist, you must purpose pecans in place of the peanuts. I used peanuts because they’re more affordable, and my family enjoys peanuts. But check for peanut allergies if you plan to take these to a gathering.

NO-BAKE COCONUT PEANUT PRALINE COOKIES

What You’ll Need:

2 ½ cups (12 ounces) Spanish peanuts

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

2 ½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup evaporated milk

1 stick (½ cup) salted butter

½ cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Here’s How:

In a medium-sized bowl, combine coconut and peanuts and set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, evaporated milk, butter and corn syrup. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Let it continue to boil and stir for 3 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and the coconut peanut mixture. Remove from heat.

Stir for about 5 more minutes, until mixture starts to cool and thicken. Drop by spoonfuls on wax or parchment paper. The mixture must cool a little before you spoon them, or they run all over and won’t look very appetizing.

Allow the cookies to harden completely, about an hour and a half before serving. Makes about 20 large cookies.

This recipe lends itself to variations. You can make the praline base as directed and switch out the nuts. As I mentioned, pecans are traditional in the American South. Almonds are traditional in France. You can also make an “Everything Cookie” and go through your baking pantry using up all the bits left over from other recipes.

Please note, if you mix in chocolate chips while the praline mixture is hot, they will melt into the praline. Not a terrible thing. But if you’d like to keep the praline pristine, let it cool until thickened and freeze your chocolate chips before adding. Chocolate covered espresso beans are ridiculously good made into pralines. Just sayin’.

Next time you crave a scrumptious confection, give this recipe a try. Then we can share a praline obsession together. Our little secret, ok?

Frugal and Fabulous Food by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Website and blog – www.divasonadime.com Join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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