Recently I started a movie review channel on YouTube. Since then the number of movies I watch a week has significantly increased, as has my need for food during movies.
Seeking sweet movie food I was disheartened to see so many recipes requiring baking of some kind, as my dorm room kitchen is literally a sink, a hotplate, a microwave and a fridge.
Eventually I stumbled upon these No-Bake Cookies and Cream Bars which are super yummy. However Oreo's are kind of expensive here in Australia so I decided to experiment with the recipe and what I found is probably the best study food!
My experiments and the results are in the next step. If you can't wait to make some skip to step 3.
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Step 1: Experimentation
Thinking I could put literally any biscuit in to this recipe I immediately tried wafers (Images 1 and 2)
While the bars look ok and have a great chocolate flavor, the wafers go all soggy and give the bars a weird texture.
After this failure more rigorous testing was needed so I tested 3 different things: Biscuits, flavoring and crushing technique. (some of the test ingredients shown in image 3)
- Wafers - good flavor, weird texture
- Milk Arrowroot (commonly used in biscuit bases for cheese cakes) - add no flavor to mix, have a good crunch
- Scotch Fingers (Similar to Milk Arrowroot but with a distinct flavor) - add flavor to the mix which can distract from added chocolate/coffee mix
- By Hand - simple and cheap but it takes time and can leave large chunks of biscuit in the mix
- small food processor - more expensive but allows a greater control over biscuit size (image 4)
- Cocoa powder - gives control over chocolate flavor and allows the use of cheaper unflavored biscuits. Mixes well to give the distinct chocolate color (images 6 and 7)
- Instant Coffee - Does not mix as well as coca powder, resulting in no color change and visible grains in the bars. Tastes just like a latte (image 8)
- Combination - amazing double hit of chocolate and coffee, takes longer for the bars to set. (image 9)
- Adding chocolate chips - Chocolate chips melt if added directly to the mix with biscuits
Milk Arrowroot biscuits crushed in a food processor make a great base and all 3 flavoring options are amazing!
Step 2: Tools and Materials
- Microwave safe bowl
- Bowl for biscuit crumbs
- Cutting board and knife
- Baking tray (or BBQ tray)
- Aluminium foil
- Food Processor (optional)
- 500g marshmallows
- 250g Milk Arrowroot biscuits
- 4 teaspoons of butter/margarine
- Flavoring (see below)
- Spray canola oil
- Chocolate - 6 teaspoons of cocoa powder
- Coffee - 8 teaspoons of coffee
- Mocha - 3 teaspoons of cocoa powder and 4 teaspoons of instant coffee
*this recipe make a large pan, to make smaller batches (as shown in my experimentation step) half all ingredients
Step 3: Preperation
Preparation is all important here because after the next step you will only have a minute or so to mix everything together before it starts to set.
- Crush biscuits, leaving some chunks* if using a food processor (images 1 and 2)
- Add to bowl with flavoring (Image 3) and mix well (Image 4)
- Place marshmallows in microwave safe bowl with butter (Image 5)
- Line baking tray with aluminium foil and grease lightly (Image 6)
And now Lets Cook!
*this is crucial if you crush the biscuits too much the final bars will have no rigidity, they will hold together fine, but can be folded in half with no effort.
Step 4: Cook
I have added this as its own step because it is quite important to get right.
Microwave the marshmallows and butter for one and a half to two and a half minutes until all of the butter has melted and the marshmallows have puffed up significantly as shown.
With the marshmallows all puffy its time to quickly move to the next step
Step 5: Mix
As soon as you pulled the marshmallows and butter out of the microwave it has started to set so as quickly as you can:
- Mix the marshmallow and butter to get an even distribution of butter (Image 1)
- Add biscuit and flavor mix (Image 2)
- Mix until you cant see any loose biscuit crumbs (Image 3)
Step 6: Set
- Transfer the mixture to the baking tray
- apply oil to the back of the spoon and even the mix out with smooth strokes (you may need to oil the spoon a few times to avoid sticking) (image 1)
- (optional) press chocloate chips into the top for a bit of extra chocolate (the chips will start to melt so dont try to move them once they are in) (image 2)
- refrigerate for up to 30 minutes or until bars are set
phew that's the hard part over!
Step 7: Enjoy!
Now its time for the best bit!
- Remove from baking tray and aluminium foil (Images 1 and 2)
- Cut into bars
- Laugh at my terrible cutting job (Image 3)
- Try not to eat the lot in one sitting
To store (if they last that long) wrap 2 bars side by side in cling wrap and store in a cupboard
Step 8: Halloween!
By lopping the top corners the bars can be turned into coffee gravestones and would make an excellent addition to a Halloween spread, especially if decorated with frosting.