After a day of grading papers, working on my never-ending dissertation, and catching up on emails, I enjoy relaxing in front of the TV at night. However, I am trying to get back into reading because I sleep better when I minimize screen time, and so far, my efforts have been semi-successful. I’ve been slowly making my way through Anthony Bourdain’s books, but I long for the days when I had the time and energy to reread the Harry Potter series every summer. The characters and their many adventures continue to comfort me, as they transport me back to the days of my youth. I may pick up a few of the books this summer, as the stories are truly (*cheese alert*) magical…just like these cookie butter bars.
Disclaimer: these do not resemble the classic magic cookie bars, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Rather than comparing the two recipes, I hope y’all enjoy these dairy free treats alongside their dairy-full counterparts. I’m calling them magic cookie butter bars because of their star ingredient and their ability to make your taste buds take you back to those summer days spent outside by the pool or a grill eating various snacks. I could have called them “Kitchen Sink” bars because they contain an array of ingredients I found in my pantry, but that name is neither appealing nor original.
These bars, just like the Harry Potter series, are perfect for summer! They’re light enough to enjoy during the warmer months, but they’re not sorbet-level light, meaning they can satisfy more intense dessert cravings. One of my pet peeves is when ice cream shops list sorbet as a suitable dairy free alternative. Sorry to those of y’all who like sorbet, but it’s so unsatisfying to me, especially during those times when I surround myself with people who can eat real ice cream. I love sno cones more than anything, but I can’t bring myself to order sorbet for some reason…anyway, back to the point, these bars are one of my favorite things I’ve made lately. They cover all dessert bases: they boast a variety of textures; they contain both sweet and salty flavors; and their sugar level is enough to satisfy an intense sweet tooth like mine without turning off people who don’t consider Buddy the Elf their alter ego. Most importantly, they take only a few minutes to assemble and only about an hour to set. You don’t have to turn the oven on at all, which will help your house stay cool!
Let me know if y’all try the recipe. Also feel free to substitute ingredients that you may have on hand. I bet peanut butter would be a great addition if you don’t have cookie butter, and if you have different types of Oreos (there are some wild varieties lately), feel free to include them! Enjoy, y’all!
Magic Cookie Butter Bars
Large and small microwave-safe bowls
One gallon size zip-lock bag
1/2 cup crunchy Cookie Butter
1 10 oz bag regular or mini marshmallows
26 Double Stuf Oreos
1 cup pretzels
1/2 cup frosting or icing of choice (I used a canned cream cheese frosting because I had it leftover, and it is dairy free)
- Spray an 8×8 baking pan.
- In a large gallon size bag, combine the Oreos and pretzels.
- Using a rolling pin (or wine bottle, I won’t judge since I did the same thing until my lovely friends Tyler and Jhon sponsored my procrastibaking and sent me a rolling pin as a surprise last year), crush the pretzels and Oreos.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave the marshmallows for one minute. *Pro tip: Spray the bowl with cooking spray prior to adding the marshmallows. This will help you remove the mixture into the pan.
- Add the cookie butter, and microwave for 30 second intervals until the cookie butter is melted.
- Stir the marshmallows and cookie butter together.
- Add the Oreo and pretzel crumbs, and stir until you have incorporated the dry ingredients into the marshmallow mix.
- Spread the mixture into the pan, and use a spatula to make sure you have evenly distributed it throughout.
- Melt the frosting in the small microwave-safe bowl.
- Take a fork, and casually flick frosting onto the bars in a zig-zag format. Feel free to use fancier equipment here. I was pressed for time when I made this batch.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Use a sharp knife to cut either 16 or 20 squares. *Pro tip: Spray both sides of the knife, so your bars come out clean, and you can have a photo shoot outside for the ‘gram like I did.