No Bake, No Fuss.
“Cooking has already become ‘cool.’ So, maybe, it is now time to make the idea of not cooking ‘un-cool.’”- Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw
In his book, Medium Raw, chef Anthony Bourdain has a chapter dedicated to talking about why everyone should have basic cooking skills. He believes that being able to cook a few staple dishes can really help improve your life because it can be healthier than take out or any food you would order at a restaurant. Bourdain encourages people to learn how to cook because he wants to make it even cooler for people to know how to make a few transformative dishes like a succulent roasted chicken, a vegetable filled omelet, and even a perfectly grilled steak.
As a college student, I don’t have a lot of the time—or money—to cook impressive meals. So, over the years I have learned how to make a few inexpensive basic dishes to get me through when I just can’t eat another chicken nugget. Cooking at home is a much cheaper and healthier option, as Bourdain points out. He writes, “There is no debating that it’s ‘better’ to cook at home whenever—and as often—as possible.” Being able to throw together a savory red sauce pasta dish, or even a batch of sweet sugar cookies for your friends can be such a rewarding experience; especially if you are at a time in your life when home cooked meals are not as prominent as they once were.
There are thousands of recipes out there for dishes that require fewer than five ingredients, and a myriad of Pinterest posts promising you a delicious meal you can make in a small amount of time. While these are all great, and I utilize them whenever I can, I never considered the convenience of an easy and inexpensive homemade dessert. There are endless dessert options ranging from moist cakes with rich icing to soft cookies, but sometimes making them homemade can become pricey and time consuming. No one can resist a good dessert, especially when someone else has made it for you. It can make someone’s day to provide them with a baked good, especially a tired and stressed out college student who is just weeks away from final exams and papers. Bourdain says it perfectly: “At college, where money is usually tight and good meals are rare, the ability to throw together a decent meal for your friends would probably be much admired.” So next time you and your friends want to cook a meal, these bars could be the perfect finishing touch.
Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic combination that always goes well together. There are endless options of what you can make with chocolate and peanut butter, but I wanted something that was easy to put together with only a few ingredients so it wouldn’t cost too much. These chocolate and peanut butter bars are no bake, so all you have to do is prepare them and stick them in the fridge for a couple of hours. They are also fun and simple to prepare; nothing is more satisfying than pouring the continuous, melted chocolate and smoothing it over the peanut butter dough. This semi sweet chocolate top pairs perfectly with the salty and soft peanut butter base. Once you make these for your friends, you’ll want to learn how to make many other basic and inexpensive desserts that can be a perfect ending to a meal, or just a good excuse for a study break.
No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
1 ½ cups of brown sugar
1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
10 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups peanut butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- In a large microwave safe bowl, melt 5 tablespoons of butter. Stir in brown sugar, powdered sugar, and peanut butter.
- Mix well and press into prepared 8 or 9-inch pan.
- In microwave safe bowl, heat chocolate chips and remaining 5 tablespoons of butter for 1 minute, stir carefully and continue to microwave in 30-second increments until smooth.
- Pour over peanut butter mixture and spread evenly.
- Chill until completely firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.