December 17, 2012

My Attempt at No-Bake Cookie Bars

Right now, my kitchen looks like this:

I was invited to a cookie exchange this past weekend. I wanted to go, but baking was not an option, and I'm too honest to try & pass off goods from the Publix bakery as my own. So I scoured Pinterest for no-bake cookie recipes.

Most of them involved peanut butter, which I know is not universally beloved. Some of them also required too much actual kitchen equipment, despite the "no bake" moniker. I currently have access to a microwave, a toaster oven, a coffee maker, a wok, (all conveniently located in the dining room) and a refrigerator (pictured above). My "counter top" is one of the doors off our old kitchen cupboards sitting on the corner of the dining room table. So I needed a recipe that was dead simple.

Photo from Cookies and Cups
No-Bake Cookie Bars seemed to fit the bill. They were made of chocolate and Oreos and sweetened condensed milk. I could make them in the microwave and the fridge, and even if I screwed them up they would probably still taste good.

And they did taste good, even though I did screw them up. My boys had fun smashing the Oreos inside ziploc bags, first with their fists, then with the can of sweetened condensed milk, then with a rubber mallet my husband brought from the garage (It's not real baking unless tools are involved; just ask Alton Brown.).

The problem arose when it came time to stir the semi-sweet chips into the white chocolate-cookie-milk mixture. Even though I let it cool for over 5 minutes, it was still too warm and the chocolate chips melted. I tried to fold them in gently, but the mixture was tough and sticky and it was hard to incorporate the chips without letting them melt completely.

Of course, I made them only a couple of hours before the cookie exchange, so the cookies didn't have enough time to sit in the fridge and set. The ones in the middle were still a little gooey when I tried to cut them apart. If I were an organized sort of person, this probably wouldn't have been a problem. But then, if I were an organized sort of person, I would have baked and frozen three dozen cookies before we tore our kitchen apart.

My considerably less photogenic cookie bars, accented by festive greenery.
I wonder where I went wrong. Should I have used a food processor to crush the Oreos instead of children wielding mallets? Should I have mixed the ingredients in a glass bowl instead of aluminum? Did I add too much white chocolate? (I couldn't find the scale to measure 10oz. precisely, so I eyeballed it.) I may never know.

Oh well. At least they tasted good. And I was able to exchange them for two dozen other delicious cookies of every variety imaginable. Not bad for someone without a kitchen!

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