My Cookie Tin: No-Bake Chocolate Garbage Cookies

I wanted to prepare a batch of cookies for the weekend, but was feeling a little lazy.  Plus I didn’t really want to turn on the oven. How fast could I throw something together?

We all know that melted marshmallows are a perfect cookie binder. Marshmallows are very sweet, of course, so I wanted to use salty treats to balance out the marshmallows. Potato chips were a no-brainer. I considered caramel corn, but decided that would upset my salty-sweet balance. I opted for kettle corn instead. Pretzels were a no-brainer, too, and when I saw peanut butter-filled pretzels, I couldn’t resist.

All three of those filling ingredients – popcorn, potato chips and pretzels – taste even better when coated in chocolate. I added a cup of semisweet chocolate chips to my melted marshmallows and stirred them in.

The  chocolate coating worked perfectly. I shaped the cookies into balls and let them cool in a mini muffin tin.

I love the cross-section of this cookie. The peanut butter and chocolate go splendidly together, and the saltiness from the potato chips is the perfect balance. In some bites you’ll get a combination of flavors, and in others you might taste a specific ingredient. “Yes, that’s a piece of kettle corn!”

I was afraid these cookies would be an impossible sticky mess (I’ve made traditional popcorn balls before), but, thanks to the added chocolate, they weren’t. As I was shaping the cookies they barely stuck to my hands. Just make sure to stir the melted marshmallow and chocolate into the mixture of crushed goodies quickly, before the liquid starts to cool and thicken.

I wanted to make a fast batch of cookies; I was done in less than 30 minutes. This recipe makes 24 cookies.


  • 1 10-ounce bag mini marshmallows
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate chips
  • 2 heaping cups peanut butter-filled pretzel bites
  • 2 heaping cups kettle corn
  • 2 cups crushed thick ridge-cut potato chips (about 4 ounces of chips, or 3 cups uncrushed chips). Note: The ridge-cut chips mean more surface area for the chocolate to stick to. Get “thick” or “natural” potato chips so they don’t completely disintegrate.

Step 1. Combine the three filling ingredients in a large bowl, thoroughly crushing the potato chips and lightly crushing the peanut butter-filled pretzels.



Step 2. Over medium heat in a medium non-stick pot, combine the butter and marshmallows. Stir frequently, until the marshmallows are melted completely. With the heat still on, add the chocolate chips. Again, stir vigorously until the melted chocolate is completely integrated.

Step 3. Pour the melted marshmallow and chocolate mixture over the combined popcorn, pretzels and chips. Toss until the filling ingredients are thoroughly coated. It helps to use a large silicone-tipped spatula to fold everything together.

Step 4. Divide the cookies into small balls and push them into a mini muffin tin or let them cool on a piece of parchment paper. The muffin tin isn’t necessary, but it helps measure out the perfect size of cookie.

  • Max

    I wish i was your neighbor. 

  • Jennie

    I like to use those “Chinese Noodles” and stir in melted butterscotch chips and melted chocolate chips. As kids we called it “Worm” candy because it looks like that with the noodles. They are very addictive and make “eating worms” something to look forward to…LOL!!!!

    • Gin

      At an Episcopal church bake sale, I learned this particular combo was called “Scotcheroos,” I guess because of the butterscotch.

  • Dan

    Sounds good. What could you name them to capture the sweet/salty combo?

  • Gin

    Boy this sounds fast, fun, and yummy!

  • Howardbaldwin

    Can I have your address? Because I’m sending you my bill for Lipitor!

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