Spicy Peanut and Toasted Coconut No-Bake Cookies: A blend of toasted coconut and peanut butter cream, finished with a sharp prickle of cayenne. (Deb Lindsey/For the Washington Post)

This time of year you may see your parents baking cookies to give to friends and relatives. Why not try the same with your friends? Start a cookie swap. That’s when you make a batch of cookies and ask three or four friends to do the same. When the group gets together, everyone should divide the number of cookies they made by the number of friends. Then swap! We’ve included a recipe to get you started. It’s not the typical holiday sugar cookie, and it doesn’t require an oven.

For more recipes, look for the Food section’s cookie issue in Wednesday’s newspaper.

Spicy Peanut and Toasted Coconut No-Bakes
Makes about 24 cookies

These cookies were inspired by Jeni Britton Bauer’s Bangkok Peanut ice cream: a blend of toasted coconut and peanut butter cream, finished with a sharp prickle of cayenne pepper.

If you prefer a sweeter, creamier cookie, use all of the peanut butter mixture. But if you like your cookies crunchier, you can hold back a little on the amounts of corn syrup, brown sugar and peanut butter.

MAKE AHEAD: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to five days, or they can be frozen (first individually frozen until solid, then stored in a freezer-safe zip-top bag) for up to 3 months.

Adapted from “Bakeless Sweets: Pudding, Panna Cotta, Fluff, Icebox Cake and More No-Bake Desserts,” by Faith Durand.


1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

3 cups canned, crisped chow mein noodles

1/2 cup honey or light corn syrup

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter, well stirred

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


Line a large baking sheet with wax paper.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add the coconut. Toast it, stirring frequently, until it is light brown and crisp. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the chow mein noodles.

Stir together the honey or corn syrup and the brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to bubble, reduce the heat to low. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then remove from the heat.

Add the peanut butter to the saucepan and stir until fully mixed in; the mixture should look glossy. Then stir in the vanilla extract, salt and cayenne pepper. Immediately stir the mixture into the coconut and noodles. Drop by spoonfuls (from the bowl) onto the baking sheet.

Cool for 10 minutes or until set before serving or storing.

NUTRITION | Per cookie: 170 calories, 4 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 82 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar.

Recipe tested by Jane Touzalin; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com