Edible Gift

The 3-Ingredient, Microwavable Treat That Got Me Through College

May 28, 2018

It was my senior year of college and my journalism professor had assigned us the fairly straightforward task of making a dish and writing about it. But I had a problem: I lived in a sorority house where an antiquated microwave, communal refrigerator, and beat-up toaster comprised our entire kitchen.

I could have asked asked to borrow a friend’s stove or oven (or knives or measuring cups), but procrastination a jam-packed schedule left me no other option but to MacGyver a recipe I knew all too well: Oreo balls.

The only recipe I "cooked" in college. Photo by Rocky Luten

I first tasted the treat at a high school sleepover. Between bags of chips and popcorn, the plate of rich, chocolatey truffles disappeared in minutes. And later, after learning that the balls only needed three ingredients—Oreos, cream cheese, and melted chocolate—I was sold.

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Sure, I’d have to fight for counter space and commander the microwave. But this was my Hail Mary and I wasn’t afraid to make my housemates wait on the sidelines with their unpopped popcorn.

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Top Comment:
“Just replace the Oreo cookies for a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips. Melt the choc chips in the microwave it takes about 90 seconds but stir every 30 seconds so it doesn't burn. Mix the melted chocolate with 1 block of cream cheese. Roll into balls and refrigerate for half an hour. Then dip in melted chocolate or melted almond bark. You can also roll them in unsweetened Coco powder or crushed store bought cookies.”
— Lydia H.
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Here's how it went:

1. Finely crush Oreo cookies.

O.K., easy enough. Some might use a food processor to pulse the sandwich cookies into a fine powder; I settled on a Ziploc bag and elbow grease. Plus, crushing the Oreos with my hands served as a wonderful stress reliever. I thought of the parking ticket (unjustly!) tacked to my car the week prior as I crushed the cookies to smithereens.

2. Mix cookie crumbs and cream cheese until blended.

I didn’t have a spatula (definitely the prefered method for mixing the cream cheese and crumbs). But I did have that Ziploc bag. I dropped a brick of cream cheese into the mess that resembled black, oxygen-rich soil and squished and squeezed “until blended.” Everything was taking longer than I anticipated. “Is this what it was like to churn butter by hand?” was the thought that crossed my mind.

3. Shape into 1-inch balls. Freeze for 10 minutes.

I rolled the sticky mixture into lopsided balls between the palms of my hands, aiming for quantity rather than consistency. As the saying goes, “Variety [in Oreo balls] is the spice of life.”

In lieu of a freezer, I placed the misshapen balls toward the back of the house refrigerator and kept vigil. Sorority women were notorious for clearing the fridge after a late night out. (It was college, O.K.?)

4. Dip balls into melted chocolate and place on wax paper.

Without a microwave-safe bowl, I hunted down the next best thing. My sister’s oversized coffee mug fit four squares of chocolate comfortably, and the handle expedited the dipping process. I nuked the perfectly shaped squares into a gooey liquid and prepared an Oreo ball assembly line. By the fourth ball, I had developed a rhythm: skewer, dip, shake, drop, and sprinkle. I felt so powerful. Like I had mastered the domestic hurdle before me: cooking. I was cooking.

Instead of wax paper, I repurposed party cups and the Styrofoam plates our chapter used as paint palettes for decorating game-day banners. My fingers, shirt, and elbows (and somehow face?) were smudged with chocolate.


This is good, too!

5. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Ready to finish my dish, I dumped the mostly-firm Oreo balls into a plastic container and taped a note to the lid saying I would come after anyone who ate my creations. I also pushed the container behind a milk jug for good measure. (Like I said, drunk eaters are the worst.)

I looked at the mess of crumbs and stray globs of chocolate and wondered, "How did three* ingredients make such a disaster?" And as I chiseled white chocolate off the countertop with a plastic knife, I decided that the limitation of a microwave and toaster for 60 women was probably for the best.

*Now, years later, I like to make them fancy-schmancy with two kinds of chocolate, semi-sweet and white.

Have you had Oreo balls before? Tell us your favorite dish to make in college in the comments below!

25 Comments

Karen July 13, 2018
Yes I have they are the next best thing to heaven. I've made the chocolate and white chocolate. Easy to make and everyone loves them.
 
Gloria P. June 26, 2018
I have made these with the red velvet Oreos at Christmas and the lemon Oreos during the summer. This recipe can't be beat.
 
Becky June 13, 2018
I was hoping for something unique from Food52. These are just Kraft Oreo Balls: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/oreo-cookie-balls-126799.aspx
 
Sam June 3, 2018
I love making these! I can never get the dipping part down pat - usually the frozen balls start to break apart in the chocolate. Any tips?
 
Author Comment
Katie M. June 3, 2018
I'm so glad you like them, too! I definitely work in batches (leaving the majority in the freezer while I dip) and have also found using a skewer (like for kebabs!) really useful. Hope this helps!
 
Smaug June 2, 2018
Good Lord. I got through college on baked potatoes and mushroom soup- always wondered how the other half lived.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. June 3, 2018
haha the sweet-loving half?
 
jbevers14 May 31, 2018
So funny that these actually got me through college as well!! Literally my go to for that sweet craving, and not to mention EVERYONE loves them!! Oreo is the American cookie, can't go wrong with this one!
 
Author Comment
Katie M. June 3, 2018
So glad to hear this resonated :)
 
kmcook May 31, 2018
Sure sounds like a slack-off job on an assignment.
 
Margaret S. May 31, 2018
I made these for the first time last Christmas and took them to a family gathering. I got MOBBED!!! This year I will just chuck the container in the door and run for cover. (They don't know about the dozen I kept at home because they were lopsided...or whatever)
 
Author Comment
Katie M. June 3, 2018
Smart plan! 😏
 
Karen May 29, 2018
Mac and cheese with tuna casserole topped with blueberry muffin. Simple and very good!
 
Author Comment
Katie M. June 3, 2018
Mac and cheese was definitely in my rotation, too ;)
 
heather May 29, 2018
I've been making these the exact same way for about 4 years now. I've also added marshmallow to the middle, they were a big hit at work!!
 
jbevers14 May 31, 2018
sounds delish!! I've tried it with peanut butter stuffed and mint stuffed Oreos. Both were pretty good, but I still prefer original.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. June 3, 2018
Such a great idea! I love a little surprise 😍😍
 
Lydia H. May 29, 2018
Pssst.<br />There is another 3 <br />ingredient truffle that is equally as easy to make. It's made the same way. Just replace the Oreo cookies for a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips. Melt the choc chips in the microwave it takes about 90 seconds but stir every 30 seconds so it doesn't burn. Mix the melted chocolate with 1 block of cream cheese. Roll into balls and refrigerate for half an hour. Then dip in melted chocolate or melted almond bark.<br />You can also roll them in unsweetened Coco powder or crushed store bought cookies.
 
FS May 31, 2018
Ooooh, I'll bet those truffles are tangy! Thanks for the tip, Lydi h.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. June 3, 2018
YUM. I'll have to try that!
 
Fred May 28, 2018
I'm reading this article through Flipboard, and they show the Lemon Tart, with the three-ingredient headline. Very deceptive of them. Though you'd like to know
 
Fred May 28, 2018
I ended up reading about the Oreo treats, and I feel tricked. Ask them why they did I this.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. June 3, 2018
So sorry, Fred! I did't realize Flipboard did that, but I'll reach out and ask to change. Hope you enjoyed the article, anyway!
 
Kitchen B. May 28, 2018
:). So how did your paper turn out, Katie?<br /><br />These sound decadent and I imagine they are best eaten in the dark of night!
 
Author Comment
Katie M. June 3, 2018
Passed with flying colors... thanks to bringing in samples of my Oreo balls haha