The recipe below was based off Kraft Canada’s recipe for Rocky Road Bars and has been around for some time. However, if anyone has been reading my posts for a while, you will know I’m an inveterate, incorrigible, and unapologetic recipe tinkerer. I’ve made the original recipe many times for others over the years, so I’ve done my time in the marshmallow mines…
I’ve separated out the recipe below into basic and then a sort of mix-n-match series of options to make these bars totally your own design. So please let me know if you try this recipe using some of the suggestions below; I’d love to know what you think of your lemon-cranberry-pecan, or peppermint-M&M-pretzel bars!
DIY Mix-N-Match Ultimate Cookie Bars
YIELD: 24-36 svgs | PREP: 15 mins | BAKE: 30 mins | COOL: 30 mins
- 1½ cups/126g/4.5oz chocolate cookie (Oreo) crumbs
- ½ cup/114g/4oz unsalted butter, melted
- 1½ cups/140g/5oz unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1½ cups/163g/6oz pecans (divided), toasted and roughly chopped
- 1¾ cups/300g/10oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup/80g/3oz toffee bits
- 1½ cups/75g/2.7oz miniature marshmallows, plain (not fruit-flavoured)
- 1 tin/300mL/10fl.oz sweetened condensed milk
- 2 squares/57g/2oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
- 2 squares/57g/2oz white chocolate, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9” pan with parchment paper or foil; leave extra hanging over sides for handles.
- Mix cookie crumbs and butter, and firmly press into bottom of pan (try using the flat side of a dry measuring cup instead of your hand for a very flat and tight crumb).
- Evenly layer in order: coconut flakes, ⅔ of the nuts, chocolate chips, and toffee bits over crumbs, then layer marshmallows overtop, ensuring full coverage over entire surface.
- Drizzle tin of condensed milk over marshmallows; this coverage doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) perfect but try to cover as much as you can.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes in centre of oven, or until top is light golden brown.
- Meanwhile, melt both semi-sweet and white chocolate separately. Once bars are out of the oven, drizzle both chocolates overtop using a fork. Sprinkle the remaining ⅓ reserved chopped pecans overtop while melted chocolate is still fluid enough for the pecans to stick to the bar’s surface.
- Let bars cool until firm, then remove from pan using foil/parchment handles and cut into bars using a hot knife for the cleanest cuts.
Bars will last covered and refrigerated for 5-7 days, if they last that long.
Substitutions and other options:
- Chocolate Oreo crumbs: try the original graham cracker crumbs, or grind up stale cookies as the base such as chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, digestives, or even gingerbread. You can also make this gluten-free by grinding up your favourite flavour of gf cookies as the base.
- Butter: Use your preferred vegan margarine or coconut oil for dairy free.
- Coconut: toast the coconut beforehand for a different taste; you can also tint flakes different, festive colours to match the season or theme!
- Nuts: you can candy your pecans in advance for a great flavour sensation! You can also try different nuts, such as chopped or slivered almonds, chopped hazelnuts, peanuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts or walnuts, or even a mixture of some or all of the above. Lastly, if you’re looking for nut-free version, try substituting with toasted sunflower seeds, chopped chickpeas, or even pepitas/pumpkin seeds.
- Toffee bits: if you don’t like or don’t have any toffee bits, you can substitute with crushed Werther’s toffees, or change the flavour (or make it dairy-free) by crushing peppermint candies instead. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, make your own caramel!
- Miniature marshmallows: if you only have large-sized mallows, no problem; just cut each marshmallow into quarters with a pair of sharp kitchen scissors. I’ve not done it myself, but you may also be able to replace them with a jar of marshmallow fluff, though it will be challenging to spread it over the toppings.
- Sweetened condensed milk: try dulce de leche if you want these to be super-rich and very butterscotch-forward! You can also replace this ingredient with dairy-free sweetened condensed coconut milk.
- Semi-sweet and white chocolate drizzle: Feel free to try melting different-flavoured chocolate chips, such as dark chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch, cinnamon, peppermint, lemon, sea salt caramel, or others I haven’t even thought of.
- Other options: these bars are a study in excess, so go for the gusto, guys! Think of the “theme” you’d like the bars to be, then add extras such as M&M’s (so many different flavours), Reece’s Pieces, crushed pretzels, numerous candies that either melt under heat or become soft (think gummy bears, jelly beans, chocolate or yogurt covered raisins/peanuts/almonds), Rice Crispies cereal or other interesting cereals (ooh! would Lucky Charms work?!? reply in the comments!), chopped dried fruits, blobs of your favourite jam or jelly under the marshmallows or on top. Endless options!