Who has leftover Easter candy?
We have a boat load of pastel colored M&Ms. I don’t know exactly how much a boat load is but it sounds like a lot. Last week I wanted a normal size bag of M&Ms but the grocery store only had the ginormous size available. The only downside with having leftover candy is that I want to sneak an M&M (or a few) whenever I pass by the bowl of them on the kitchen counter. Is that really a downside? 😉
My husband and I spent Easter day with his family. I like to give our nieces and nephews a little Easter goody bag. I don’t usually give chocolate because I figure that they already get plenty of it from the Easter bunny and other family members. Sometimes I give them an assortment of Annie’s goodies because some of the products are bunny shaped (convenient for Easter time). Other times I bake them something. This year I decided to bake these sugar cookie bars for the kids.
Initially I was going to make regular roll-out sugar cookies because I thought that they would be the perfect way to show off the pastel colored M&Ms. I’m not wrong but I wasn’t in the mood for rolling out a bunch of cookies. It’s kind of an ordeal for me and I blame my inner perfectionist. So how about one big sugar cookie cut up into small squares? Yup, that’ll do. No perfectionism required. In fact, these sugar cookie bars are just about one of the easiest things to make. If you can make brownies then you can make these. Oh, I just figured out another way to use my leftover M&Ms. 😉
I made a frosted version of these sugar cookie bars last year and they were delicious. I skipped the frosting in today’s recipe, which sounds wrong because frosting is always a good idea. Sure, I could have used frosting and M&Ms but I thought that would be a sugar overload, especially with all the other Easter chocolate around. Plus, it’s easier to pop these in a little gift bag (no sticky frosting to stick to the inside of the bag or the bottoms of other cookies). Honestly, these sugar cookie bars are so tasty that you don’t miss the frosting. My husband would say that he prefers them without the frosting.
I’m Greek Orthodox so we’re celebrating Greek Orthodox Easter this Sunday with my family. I’ll be baking up a storm tomorrow and you better believe that it will involve the leftover M&Ms. What should I make?
M&M Sugar Cookie Bars Recipe
(Makes 16 bars, or some other number if you want.)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened (equivalent to 1 stick)
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (equivalent to 7.4 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup M&Ms
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 pan and set it aside. I like to lay parchment paper or tin foil into the baking pan so that it’s easy to take out for pictures but it’s not required it you just want to cut them out of the pan as you go.
- In a big bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix together.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix again. (When measuring flour, use a spoon to loosely pile the flour into the measuring cup and then level it off with a butter knife.)
- Add in the M&Ms and gently stir everything together. (* See note below.)
- Place the cookie dough into the pan and spread it out evenly. I mushed mine into the pan with the back of a measuring cup. (Note that the dough will be thick and resemble a cookie batter. This is not a cake so it will not have the consistency of a cake batter.)
- Bake it in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean.
* If you want the M&Ms only on the top of the sugar cookie bars like I did today, then skip step 5. Instead, bake the bars for 10 minutes, take them out of the oven, sprinkle the M&Ms on top, place the bars back in the oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean.
Adapted from: Dessert for Two