5 No-Bake Recipes

Let’s face it. When it’s hot outside, we want cool inside. When it’s cold outside, we want warm inside. Call it a ying-yang intrinsic need for balance, nature’s way of keeping equilibrium, but whatever it is, what we make at home in mid-July will probably come with a cool factor.

So, I’ve rounded up five sweet recipes that won’t even ask for oven mitts. Don’t touch that dial – just scroll down.

1. Chocolate-dipped Banana Pops – Recipe from Epicurious

The great thing about bananas is that you don’t just get one when you go to the store. Four, five, six, they’ll be plenty to last the week or feed a few. Since this recipe asks to freeze the bananas, you’re better off with firmer ones, so wait until the green fades to mellow yellow, but not so mellow that we’re getting mushy.

You can also play around with different toppings in this recipe. Sprinkles, shredded coconut, crushed nuts, white chocolate instead of milk, so there are many ways to make this fresh and new.

Another idea is to insert a skewer or popsicle stick on one end of the banana for easy holding when it’s ready to eat. If you find that your banana starts to break when the stick is inserted, try slicing your banana in half and punching it through the flat edge.

2. No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake – Recipe from The Kitchn

No-bake doesn’t have to mean no-appeal. This icebox cake is a touch fancy and reminds me of the strawberry shortcake sold at Amadeus, a bakery I used to work at: alternating layers of crisp pastry, custard cream, and berries. Crisp pastry, custard cream, strawberries. It’s like one of those songs you sing in rounds, and when each part is strung on top of each other, it’s harmony.

Every day, Amadeus made dacquoise discs by the trolley, and I can still smell the airy sugar wafting through the swing door that separated the store from the kitchen. I remember having to separate the discs from the wax paper and stacking them onto cool metal sheets. Light and slightly tanned, the fragile dacquoise lifted off the bake-stiff wax paper with a crackling rustle. This recipe here doesn’t go all the way with crackly dacquoise, but you can try to make one yourself too.

3. Sweet and Spicy Popcorn – Recipe from Martha Stewart

Last night I was at Starbucks with a friend, and we lingered over the merch before making our order. Okay, I admit we were reading the lineup on the Eclipse soundtrack, only to receive the outspoken commentary by the barista. Metric, Muse, pfft! He wouldn’t hear of it. It’s practically cool to hate Twilight, my friend said to him. Yeah, there’s this counter culture that wouldn’t exist without the fanfare to start it off, he replied.

Something else Starbucks sold that perhaps wouldn’t get such strong reaction were these bags of popcorn. They were flavoured like potato chips, and bagged as such, and gave me the idea to make my own flavours at home. Try it out! We won’t even blame you if you’re watching Twilight while munching on these snacks.

4. Refrigerator Crispy Cake – Recipe from 500 Cakes

The plus-side about this cake is that it’s also very kid-friendly. Made with cereal and marshmallows, it’s like a Rice Krispy sandwich! If you use coloured marshmallows, it gives the cake a bit more colour interest too.

A word about the cookbook where this recipe is from. What I like about Susannah Blake’s collection is the variation for every recipe – that’s how this compact 6″6 cookbook expands to 500 recipes! I’ve provided the basic recipe below, but there are five more varieties inside her book too.

Crispy Cake recipe

  • 9 oz. milk chocolate
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 3 1/4 cups corn flake cereal
  • 3/4 cup Brazil nuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 oz. mini-marshmallows (or larger marshmallows snipped into pieces)
  • 3 1/2 oz. mascarpone
  1. Line the bottoms of two 8 inch round springform pans with waxed paper. Break the chocolate into pieces and put them in a heatproof bowl with butter. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and let the chocolate and butter melt. Remove from the heat, stir to combine, then let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, put the cornflakes in a bag and crush lightly with a rolling pin. Combine with the nuts and marshmallows, then stir into the melted chocolate. Divide the mixture between the two springform pans, spreading out in an even layer, then chill for about 1 1/2 hours until set.
  3. To serve, carefully remove the two cakes from the pans, spread one with mascarpone, and place the second cake on top. Serve in small wedges.

5. Watermelon Granita – Recipe from Food Network

What is a granita, you may ask? I wouldn’t have know either if I didn’t work at Lettieri (cake and barista – I’ve made my rounds)! When people came looking for a cold drink that isn’t quite a smoothie but without the caffeine, I recommended the semi-frozen granita. If you want to be technical about it, a granita is an Italian something-something that melts between sorbet and slushy. Okay, so maybe that wasn’t so technical, but if you can imagine a flavoured ice on a nice chilled dish to cool off after a hot day, the you’ve got the gist of it.

And that’s the cool five for high temps. If you try one, let me know how it goes!

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