No ifs, ands or buts about it, I love sweets. Just because you’re vegan, doesn’t mean you can’t throw a yummy dessert or two down your throat.

Despite what many folks think about a vegan diet, you don’t have to eat desserts that are bland, dry or gross. Yes, you can make and eat cookies and cakes with no eggs and dairy that are delicious.

My favorite dessert, without a doubt, during the holiday season has always been chocolate no-bakes. I have to be honest, though. I thought my days of no-bakes were history after giving up animal products.

We made about three dozen no-bakes a couple of months ago. Now, we didn’t starve our friends or force them to eat the cookies, but 36 of them vanished in a matter of minutes. The funny thing was, we never told them the cookies were vegan. We got comments like, “Those are the best cookies I have ever had” and, “Can I get the recipe? My kids would love these.” They couldn’t tell the difference and neither could I.

Just by replacing a couple of ingredients, you can prepare a dessert that tastes great and, if eaten in moderation, isn’t that bad for you. By the way, you do get some nutritional value with the oats, and in this recipe, there is no sugar, but remember it is still a dessert. With this recipe, I offer you a tasty treat, but I do with this warning. Eat just a couple, and either give them away or hide them in a hurry, or you may eat the whole batch.

CHOCOLATE NO-BAKE COOKIES

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I use almond)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

3 tablespoons peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

In a small saucepan heat the syrup, milk, and cocoa until boiling then simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the peanut butter and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat then add the rest of the ingredients. Combine well, then form into cookies.

With a spoon, drop and form small piles of the cookie mixture onto aluminum foil or wax paper and let sit for about 30 minutes to cool and harden.

Jeff Peterson anchors the 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. news on WGME-TV and is a vegan.