Candy Corn M&M Pumpkin Cookie Bars

I have to admit, Monday is a whole lot better when you get to wear orange and black to work and eat candy all day! No crazy Halloween shenanigans for this girl – I’m running a marathon in six days! Let’s be honest, marathon or no marathon, there’d probably be no crazy Halloween shenanigans for me. 😉

All October, I kept seeing candy corn M&M’s pop up over some of my favorite blogs. I tried relentlessly to pin them down, but couldn’t find them anywhere. Finally, I found them a couple days ago at WalMart Supercenter. Luckily, I had read that they don’t taste like candy corn, otherwise my candy corn obsessed self would’ve been deeply disappointed. They’re great – white chocolate flavored with a crisp shell – but taste nothing like candy corn.

I actually didn’t plan to bake with the M&Ms, but one thing led to another and well… I suddenly found myself whipping up a batch of pumpkin cookie bars… and then throwing M&M’s in! I didn’t even plan to share the recipe here on the blog but since it is Halloween and all, I think I’ve got to.

For the cookie base, I used a pouch of Betty Crocker pumpkin cookie mix like I did for pumpkin oatmeal cookies. I can’t get over how super soft the cookies are! And the addition of the M&M’s was perfect — I’m starting to believe any chocolate – white, milk, dark – pairs well with pumpkin. If you can get your hands on these M&M’s, make these cookie bars!

Have a great Halloween – make sure you set aside the good candy for yourself the trick-or-treaters! 😉

Candy Corn M&M Pumpkin Cookie Bars

Super-soft and subtly spiced pumpkin cookie bars with white chocolate M&M’s. If you can’t find white chocolate M&M’s, substitute white chocolate chips or a different flavored M&M.

Makes 16 bars

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Betty Crocker pumpkin cookie mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1 cup Candy Corn M&M’s

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cookie mix, butter, egg, and water with an electric mixer on medium speed until mixed well. Stir in the M&M’s. Spread into the prepared pan and bake 30 minutes or until edges are golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out nearly clean. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Soft Sugar Cookie Bars

I know I’m all about crazy cookie concoctions, but there’s something about the holiday season that puts me into simplicity mode.  Or maybe it’s just that all of my creative energy lately has been absorbed by writing papers.

I made these soft sugar cookie bars last weekend and I *almost* didn’t add the red and green sprinkles.  I know.  Can you even imagine a holiday sugar cookie without sprinkles?  I’m pretty sure you’d get coal in your stocking if you did such a thing.

Anyway… if you’re short on time, these are your go-to sugar cookies for the holidays, or any time of the year.  Just mix up the dough, spread it into a pan, and let it bake.  No chilling of the dough, no forming each and every cookie.  Easy!

I topped my sugar cookie bars with a dusting of granulated sugar before they went in the oven, which allowed for a pretty, crackly top.  But I can assure you they would be equally pretty if you spread a layer of frosting over them instead.

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Toffee Oatmeal Blondies

I’m really starting to wonder why brownies always get the spotlight when it comes to dessert bars.  Because if I’m being honest, I think blondies are where it’s at.  Especially when you involve oatmeal and milk chocolate toffee bits.

I actually made these blondies right before I left New York last month — I tried to leave my dad with a stash of desserts. :)  But I managed to steal one of my own, and let me tell you, this recipe is a keeper.

Per the semi-usual, I replace half the butter with Greek yogurt, which made for a softer, more cake-like consistency that a regular blondie.  You could totally swap the yogurt for an all-butter recipe, but I may not want to associate myself with you anymore.  Just kidding. ;)

Both the oatmeal and the milk chocolate toffee bits give the blondies a lot of chewiness and texture.  If you want to up the chocolate taste, you could add some chocolate chips as well.  *Or* you could use plain toffee bits and toss in some cinnamon chips.  Just giving you lots of options!

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Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Trail Mix Blondies

Whew, I had a crazy week of travel so I am a bit behind here! On top of that, I couldn’t locate my camera charger for a few days, so the ‘ol cell phone camera has been subbing in on my baking creations. Not to worry though, I will still be sharing some of my recent creations this weekend. 🙂

Last week, I got the sudden urge to bake something that actually had some nutritional value.
You know, something that isn’t packed with shortening, bleached flour, etc. Since I don’t get this urge very often, I decided I better act on it! I had been wanting to do a trail mix cookie for quite some time, so I decided it was time to go down that road…
I mixed up my own trail mix using peanuts, cashews, almonds, dried mixed fruit, and of course, m&m’s. 🙂 If you’re short on time, you could just use pre-mixed trail mix, but I think it’s fun to mix your own. I loved the mixed dried fruit instead of just plain raisins — blueberries, cherries, etc. 🙂
For the dough, I used my usual blondie recipe, but replaced some of the butter with peanut butter. I also replaced the usual all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Once I had the dough mixed up, I felt the urge to pour a few more m&m’s in… Remember, I said these have some nutritional value!

Spread this nutty creation into a lightly greased 8- or 9-inch square pan for thick blondies (as I did here). For thinner blondies, though, you’ll want to use a 9×13 pan.
Yum! I may have cut into them a little too soon. I often have this issue when making any sort of brownie, blondie, or bar cookie. I just get so inpatient! Nonetheless, these are a terrific little treat. And you can feel less guilty with them. I bet they’d make a great snack to bring along for hikes and such, too!

Question: Have you ever dabbled in ‘healthy’ baking? What have you made? Or… if you could make one dessert healthy, what would it be? 🙂

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Chewy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

With tomorrow being the first day of fall, I think the change of seasons calls for a bit of a celebration.  No, not with pumpkin (though there will be plenty of that)… whaddaya say we bring back Chocolate Chip Thursday?!

Here’s the thing.  After weeks on end of chocolate chips earlier this year, I got burnt out.  It was summer, I was hot, and just needed a little time away from the delightful little morsels.  But you know what they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder… chocolate chips included!

Since I’m all about flexibility and spontaneity lately – largely in part to my marathon training without a plan – I’m not promising weekly chocolate chip Thursdays.  They’ll happen when they happen.  And when they happen, they’ll be good.

 

I’ve got just recipe to welcome you back to CCT.  These bars are seriously some of the best I’ve ever made.  Whenever I bake something with the intention posting the recipe, I try to jot down a few notes about how it tastes right away.  My (only) notes from these bars were “OMGGG so chewy and crisp.”  Yep, that explains them to a T!

 

Last week I received a package of Uncle Sam cereals from Attune.  I ate three delicious bowls of the honey almond variety for breakfast at HLS last month, so I was excited to receive an entire package of cereal to have fun with.

Fun, you say?  Well, rather than pour myself a bowl of cereal as any normal person would do, I tore open a box and got baking.  What can I say, I look at just about every food and try to figure out what I could bake with it.  Uncle Sam cereal passed with flying colors!

I omitted flour in favor of the cereal, and the result was a super chewy, crispy, nutty chocolate chip bar.  Warning: these will go fast!

 

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