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Holiday M&M Cookie Bars

Holiday M&M Cookie Bars are soft, chewy, and packed with chocolate and festive colors. Incredibly simple to make, they are the perfect quick and easy cookie for a busy season!

Side view of stacked Holiday M&M Cookie Bars on a white plate

If you’re building your cookie tray, participating in a cookie exchange, or gifting cookies, these bar cookies should definitely be on your list. If you adore chocolate chip cookies, and bright holiday cheer, you’ll love these!

When the holidays come, my kitchen turns into a cookie baking enterprise. I love to make Christmas cookies, often beginning in October.

But when the season heads toward mid-December, I’m reaching for my quick and easy cookie recipes to replace those that have either, 1) been found in the freezer and consumed or 2) were already gifted.

Cookie Bars, like the ever popular Magic Cookie Bars, are the simplest and easiest way to produce cookies… with much less work than traditional cookies. And when they can be bright and cheery and festive, all the better!

Side front view of stacked Holiday M&M Cookie Bars on a white plate with Christmas mugs in the background

The exact ingredient measurements can be found in the recipe card below, but here is a quick list of what you need to make these oh-so-easy cookie bars!

  • Butter, softened or at room temperature
  • Brown sugar and granulated sugar
  • Large eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Salt: I prefer fine sea salt but kosher or even table salt works just fine too
  • Chocolate chips
  • M&M’s
Top view of unbaked Holiday M&M Cookie Bars in a 9x13-inch pan

Step-by-step instructions are in the recipe card below, here’s a quick overview:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar: In a large bowl beat the butter and sugars together until fluffy; add the eggs and vanilla.
  2. Add Dry ingredients. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Then fold in chocolate chips and M&M’s.
  3. Transfer to Pan: Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil or parchment. Press dough into the pan and add a few additional chocolate chips and M&M’s to the top.
  4. Bake. Bake at 325°F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is barely golden brown.
Top view of baked Holiday M&M Cookie Bars in a 9x13-inch baking pan
Do I need to line the baking pan when making cookie bars?

You can definitely bake these cookies without lining the baking pan first. But, here’s why I always line my baking pan with foil or parchment paper. You can easily remove the bars from the pan intact, which helps deliver crisp, clean squares or bars, cleanup is a breeze, and it helps the cookies bake evenly.

How do you know when the cookie bars are done?

It’s important not to overbake the cookie bars. Remove them from the oven when the top is just beginning to turn golden. It’s tempting to continue baking if the center top doesn’t look quite baked, but they will continue to set as they cool.

Why do you add more chocolate chips and M&Ms to the top?

Honestly, one reason only. It’s makes the final square prettier! And I like the festive colors.

What size pan should you use to bake cookie bars?

This recipe calls for a 9×13-inch baking pan. You can also bake them in a 15×10-inch pan, which produces a thinner cookie. Reduce the baking time if using the larger pan size.

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Side view of stacked squares of Holiday M&M Cookie Bars with Christmas M&M's
Side view of stacked Holiday M&M Cookie Bars on a white plate

Holiday M&M Cookie Bars

Yield: 24 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Holiday M&M Cookie Bars are soft, chewy, and packed with chocolate and festive colors. Incredibly simple to make, they are the perfect quick and easy cookie for a busy season!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or your salt preference
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup M&M’s, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment to easily remove the baked cookie bars.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla; mix until combined.
  3. Into the bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir until combined. With a spatula, fold in 3/4 cup each of the chocolate chips and M&M's until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the dough.
  4. Lightly spray the parchment with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon bar cookie dough into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Add the remaining 1/4 cup M&M's and chocolate chips to the top of the dough.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is just beginning to turn golden brown. Cool the bars completely before removing them from the pan and cutting them into squares.

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