Do you remember the first time you ate a no-bake cookie? When I was little, my mom could whip up oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodles so fluffy you’d think they were pillows (really, my friends were always mega impressed when I pulled them out of my lunchbox), but no-bake cookies were never her thing. My first encounter with them was actually at a holiday party sometime in grade school. I remember that first taste of the gooey chocolate peanut butter combo (la, la, la, laaaa!) and the intensely uncomfortable feeling that came soon after when the words no bake were uttered. No bake? As in not cooked? As in I ate raw cookie dough? What, whaaat?
I’m sure so-and-so’s mom had to calm my salmonella-laden fears by explaining that no-bake didn’t mean no-cook and that no raw egg was actually involved in the making of the cookies, but it still seemed incredibly unnatural to eat a cookie that hadn’t spent any time in the oven. And to be honest, I still don’t quite have a taste for the no-bake stuff. I suppose I’m a traditionalist that way.
Now I take you on this journey to no-bake cookie discovery for a reason. And it’s because that unnatural, wait-this-isn’t-how-it’s-supposed-to-work feeling I got from my first encounter with no-bake cookies was reincarnated recently in a no-cook cranberry chutney experience. Yes, I made a cranberry chutney that required zero cooking. And it was delicious.
This recipe is from chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park in New York City, and it appeared in the New York Times a few weeks ago. As a major cranberry sauce fan (I’ll eat it straight from a can, I love it so much), I think this stuff is top notch. Because you’re not boiling the cranberries to smithereens, they keep a great acidic kick and a lot of nice texture. And with a bit of sugar and a healthy dose of orange zest (oranges and cranberries are always a winning pair), you have a super simple recipe that tastes way more complicated than it really is.
• 12 ounces fresh cranberries, cleaned and dried
• 1 2/3 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons orange zest
Using the paddle attachment in a standing mixer, combine cranberries, sugar and orange zest.
Mix at a very low speed for at least one hour (we did about one hour 20 minutes). And watch out! Those crazy cranberries were popping out all over the kitchen before they got mashed up a bit. After a while, cranberries will begin to break down and macerate.
And that’s all there is to it. I’ll definitely be rolling out this dish again and again. The only change I’ll probably make next time would be a little less sugar, maybe 1 1/4 cup instead of the full 1 2/3. But then again, my taste buds tend to lean a little more zing and a little less sweet, so keep the sugar as is if you’d prefer a bit less acidity. It’s amazingly yummy though. And all that flavor without touching the stove. Totes groovy.
Do you have any favorite no-bake or no-cook recipes? Any funny stories about your first no-bake cookie experience? Let’s hear it!