I’m not really a cookbook kind of girl. It’s not that I have anything against them. But I do tend to make the same 20 meals for our family over and over in a varied rotation. And when I want to make something specific, I pretty much always look it up on the trusty internets.


Because REVIEWS! You can find out how people liked the recipe, what they did to make it better (my faves are the ones who gush about how great the recipe is and then list no fewer than 7 fundamentally recipe-altering things that they did to “tweak it just a little.” Dude, you didn’t even follow the recipe. How would you know if it’s any good or not?).

But if I run across a fun-looking cookbook on sale, I go for it. And since I’m a sucker for cute packaging, if it looks good on the outside and has pretty pictures throughout, I’m all the more likely to take the plunge. (Shallow, much?)

Such was the case when I spotted this adorableness in the clearance section of–weirdly enough–Urbanoutfitters.com.


See? Cute cover. Even cuter tagline: “More than 80 bite-sized treats made with lovin’, not oven.”

I did a little poking around (see above reference to my love of reviews) and discovered that 1) the price on UO was really good [it has since sold out…sorry!] and 2) No Bake Makery had great reviews on Amazon.

So, I ordered it on a whim after way too much deliberation, and I’m so glad I did!

Not only is the cover pretty, but the inside is chock full of more gorgeous shots of creative recipes like these:nomake

{These “Pecamel Fudgey Bars” are on my holiday hit-list}nomake2

See the little paragraphs at the top of each page? The author (who started out as a blogger) writes short little introductions to each recipe that are, by turns, informative, funny, and sweet. She has a great writing voice, so if you get this book, make sure you don’t just skip over the intros!nomake3-001 nomake6

The best part of all is that the recipes are really fun (if somewhat time-consuming on the first go-round) to make, and they’re perfect for getting kids involved, since there’s no oven, and most of the steps simply require smearing gooey stuff on other already made, slightly less gooey stuff.

boys dipping

My boys (and even Della!) had fun getting in on the action.boys dipping2

{Give a couple of little boys jars of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, and fingers will be licked, messes will be made, and maybe, just maybe, something edible will emerge).

No Bake Makery is actually what inspired me to put some effort out for the twins’ 2nd birthday party. The boys and I ended up making two separate recipes from the book–“Minty” and “Fluffy Cracker Cookies”–and then using the no bake theme as an inspiration for the rest of our homemade treats (which included blue-dipped pretzels and caramel corn).


As a side note, if you’ve never done much with chocolate-dipped desserts (not that every recipe in the book involves them, but many do), there’s a bit of a learning curve. (Code for: you might have to redo some of your treats, and it might take a while).

I’ve done a bit of dipping before, but I must confess that Cristina (the author) does give you some tips at the beginning of the book for dipping techniques that…I didn’t read. Whoops!

Ultimately, though, the recipes were clear and easy to follow/execute, and the results were ridiculously cute.


(These are the “Minty” balls attached to paper straws with a little melting chocolate; they contain [off-brand] thin mints, Andes mint crumbles, AND York Peppermint Patties!!!!!!)


{My doubled-dipped “Fluffy Cookie Crackers” weren’t as perfect as hers, but they made for good eatin’!}

Of course, there’s nothing much more disappointing than biting into something that looks delicious only to immediately be on the hunt for a napkin to spit it out in.

Definitely not the case here. Both treats we made were super yummy and big hits with everyone at the party.

I plan on revisiting No Bake Makery when the holiday treat season rolls around (I’m thinking that several of the recipes will freeze well so I could get started even sooner if I end up with just tons of free time and motivation in the next several weeks. Yeah. That seems likely).

So, what about you guys? Are you cookbook junkies? Total recipe free spirits? Or somewhere in between? I would LOVE to hear any suggestions for must-have cookbooks. I’m certainly not averse to them. But I don’t tend to seek them out unless they come highly recommended.

Any great ideas for make-ahead/freeze recipes for the holidays? I love the idea of homemade treats as additions to gifts, but I know if it comes down to the wire, they just won’t get made, so I would love to be able to spread them out over the next several months.





  1. I love cookbooks, but they need to have pictures and some kind of description, explanations. I will check cookbooks out from the library to read. (Am I the only one who does this?) Cooking magazines are fun, too.

    Living in Congo has kind of ruined that for me, though. I never have all the ingredients I need to make what I want. I have to look at the ingredients that I have and figure out what I can make with it. It’s made me a more creative cook, though. 🙂

  2. Abby, if you don’t have a Betty Crocker cookbook, you must get one. It is by far the very best! Fundamentals that I’ve tweaked over the years are always fresh and untweaked in the Betty book. Like Popovers…who knew that popovers were so easy to make? Eggs, Milk, flour and a little salt…BOOM, you have popovers. Never would have known about them without my Betty book. I’m like you though, I use Pinterest or Allrecipies to find something to make with items I have on hand, or if I’m just looking for a new recipe. I hope that you reached out to the author to show her your review of her book. It is high praise and makes me want to go search for the book.

    Off the topic of cookbooks, I find that I become a nervous wreck when my boys are in the kitchen…do you ever flip out when they make a mess or how do you handle it. I’m sure you have your share of ciaos, right?

  3. I feel terrible because I own like six cookbooks and I only ever open my Bettty Crocker one, and only when I need to look up measurements for making cookies! For dinner I make the same Forty or so recipes in rotation and If I want to try something new Pinterest is my best friend. This cookbook looks like alot of fun though! I cant wait until my daughter is old enough to cook with me 🙂

  4. I learned from a Better Homes and Garden Christmas issue that you can freeze dough up to 3 months and baked cookies that long as well…I’ve been doing it for years now and it’s fantastic (now you have to have extra freezer space but still…)! I actually start making dough in September (except this year…definitely behind!); I make the messiest dough (Grandma’s cut out recipe) first and freeze all the dough. Once that “making” mess is done, I take on a batch at a time and bake all the cookies. Freeze them again and they are amazing…my Dad says they are even better than fresh baked, which is probably cause you freeze in moisture!

    Anyhoo, I’ve done it with ALL my doughs (I make a variety of about 18 every year) and it works every time!! Freeze before and after you bake so they last long and can be given out all through the season 🙂

  5. Looks awesome, Abbie! And I have to agree on the “pretty cover will buy” vice, I’m the exact same way. The saying may be “don’t judge a book by its cover” but if so, I’m guilty. The only thing that I wouldn’t like about the book would be the “no bake” part, now I know that seems silly but there’s just something about a plate of warm goodies straight the oven. Agree?

I love hearing from you guys!