Everyone loves soft and chewy M&M cookie bars, especially during the holiday season. Made from scratch, this easy dessert transforms favorite cookies into a bar form and they are always a huge hit!
If you’re looking for more easy holiday treats that will quickly become a family favorite, these White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies are so fun, and Christmas Oreos are great way to sweeten up your dessert table!
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Easy Cookie Bars
If you’ve never made cookie bars before, you’re in for a treat with this great recipe. All you do is mix the dough, press it into a baking dish, and then cut the baked cookies into bars. No individual scoops, no chilling, and no rolling or cutting the dough.
They are thick and chewy bars loaded with M&M candies and chocolate chips. You can also add sprinkles if you want to make them even more colorful and festive for a homemade edible gift or a cookie exchange.
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this easy recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card with amounts.
- Flour: any kind of all-purpose flour will work but you can use bread flour for a chewier cookie. Just as long as you’re using accurate measurements, either one is great.
- Baking Soda: helps the cookie bars rise so they’re nice and thick!
- Salt: enhances all the other flavors.
- Baking Powder: helps the cookie bars have perfect texture.
- Butter: use unsalted butter and let it soften a bit before you mix it in. Bring it to room temperature about half an hour before you begin.
- Light Brown Sugar: deepens the flavors of the cookie bars with a sweet caramelized flavor. Use dark brown sugar if you’d like.
- Granulated Sugar: I like the combination of both sugars.
- Large Eggs: binds all the ingredients together so they hold together.
- Vanilla Extract: gives a deeper flavor. Use pure vanilla extract, not the artificial extract.
- M&Ms: to mix into the dough and sprinkle on top. We like to use red and green M&Ms for our Christmas version.
- White Chocolate Chips: feel free to use milk chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips if you prefer. .
- Sprinkles: these are optional, but they add a ton of Christmas cheer to top of the bars!
1. For different holidays and special occasions, use different colored M&M candies.
2. Add ½ cup of toffee chips or peanut butter chips.
3. For extra crunch, toss some chopped pecans, walnuts, or peanuts into your cookie dough.
4. Make a smaller batch by halving the recipe and using a 8×8 square baking pan.
How to Make These Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
This recipe will come together in just 20-25 minutes! The hardest part is waiting for them to cool. They’re so easy, you don’t even need to worry about making all the cookies the same size.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Step 2: In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix until combined well.
Step 3: In separate medium bowl, add the softened butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar and cream together with an electric hand mixer. (you can also use the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment).
Step 4: Add in the eggs and the vanilla and mix until combined.
Step 5: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until the flour is just barely incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix.
Step 6: Gently stir in the M&Ms and chocolate chips (and sprinkles if you’re using them) until they are evenly distributed.
Step 7: Transfer the cookie dough to a prepared baking pan and press down gently in an even layer with your fingers.
Step 8: Top with more M&Ms, chocolate chips, sprinkles or other seasonal candy.
Step 9: Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove them from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to let the the bars cool before you cut into squares.
- The dough can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- For clean cuts, wipe the knife clean with a wet paper towel after each slice.
- Line the tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. This will make clean-up so much easier.
- Do not over-bake the cookie bars or else they will become too dry. Watch that the crisp edges don’t become too dark.
- Be careful not to press the dough down too firmly into the baking dish, or else the bars will be more dense and lose their chewy centers.
Store cooled cookie bars at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days or longer in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Yes, you can freeze leftover bars. Slice them into squares first and layer them with parchment paper in a freezer bag or airtight container so they don’t stick together. You can also wrap individual cookies in plastic wrap before placing them in the container or bag. Keep them frozen for up to 3 months.
M&M Cookie Bars
- 3 cups all-purpose flour use bread flour chewier cookies
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup M&M’s plus more for optional topping
- ¾ cup white chocolate chips plus more for optional topping
- ⅓ cup sprinkles plus more for optional topping
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix together.3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder
- In a separate large bowl, add the softened butter, brown sugar, and white sugar and cream together with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy.1 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup brown sugar, ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and blend on medium speed until just incorporated.2 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Add in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed just until the flour is barely mixed in, scraping down the side of the bowl a few times with a rubber spatula. Avoid over-mixing.
- Gently stir in the M&M’s, chocolate chips, and sprinkles until evenly distributed.1 cup M&M’s, ¾ cup white chocolate chips, ⅓ cup sprinkles
- Pour the cookie dough into the parchment lined dish and press in down gently in an even layer. (don’t press it down to hard or it may become more dense).
- Top with additional M&M’s, white chocolate chips, and sprinkles if desired.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the top is golden browned. Be careful not to not over bake or the bars will become dry.
- When you remove them from the oven, they will continue to bake while the dish is still hot.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting into bars..
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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