My husband came home the other day and announced he needed something for the next day to take to work for a potluck. I started searching my pantry looking at what I had on hand that I could make that would be good and tasty. In my search I found a can of frosting, some peanut butter left over from making fudge, a bag of M&M’s and I always have butter, nuts and baking chips on hand.
Knowing how everyone loves chocolate and peanut butter, this recipe idea popped into my head. So I thought what could be better than milk chocolate, honey roasted peanut bar cookies that are covered with fluffy peanut butter icing and plain chocolate M&M’s all over the top. While typing out this recipe for you my mouth is watering just thinking about this combination of flavors.
The bars can be cut into any size you want, large or small. They are so easy for anyone to sneak into a break room and grab a quick yummy treat. My husband came home all smiles because they were a big hit and none were left to bring home. Lucky for him I had saved a few for his dessert. I hope you, your family and friends enjoy them as much as we do. Enjoy!!
Start off by melting the butter in a microwavable safe bowl; I use my 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup. In the microwave melt butter at 15 second intervals until melted. Out of the fridge usually takes about a minute. Time will depend on the wattage of your microwave. Set aside to let cool down.
Mix all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. I always fluff up my white whole wheat flour before measuring to ensure that I do not over add the flour. Fluff the flour and measure into measuring cup and level off with knife. Add to large mixing bowl. Repeat for a total of two cups flour.
To the flour add baking soda, salt, white sugar, light brown sugar, chopped honey roasted peanuts and chopped milk chocolate chips. Stir well between each addition. Set bowl aside.
Dough can be mixed by hand in a large mixing bowl, handheld mixer or a stand mixer with an attached cookie paddle. I am using my stand mixer. Add the melted butter, vanilla and eggs into the mixing bowl and beat until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Beat until completely combined.
Prepare a large 13 x 9 inch pan. I used a glass Pyrex pan. Spray the pan with non-stick spray that is made for baking.
Spoon the mixture into the pan and use a spatula to spread out evenly over the whole pan. The batter will rise up quite a bit so make sure you use a 13 x 9 standard pan to avoid spillage. Bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. I baked mine in a convection oven.
Start checking your bar cookie at 30 minutes. To check, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. When done bar cookie should be a golden brown with a brownie like texture on top. The bar cookie will keep cooking a short while when removed from the oven so try not to over-cook to prevent dryness. Let the bar cookie cool completely before frosting.
In a large mixing bowl combine the peanut butter and frosting and mix thoroughly. Spoon the mixture on top of the cooled bar cookie. Reserve a little in the bowl for emergency touch ups. Spread out the mixture evenly over the bar cookie with a small offset spatula. Neighbor has my spatula so I used an offset butter knife in the video and it worked fine.
The bar cookie has a brownie texture on top and is fragile. The frosting mixture is very thick and will try to tear the fragile top. If you experience this problem you will want to spread the mixture in one full stroke from side to side. (See the video) If you still have problems, you can thin the frosting with a drop or two of milk but it will not be as fluffy. The extra frosting is to fix any holes in the frosting you may incur. If no holes occur, the extra frosting becomes chef’s treat! Upon immediately finishing the frosting on the cookie bar sprinkle M&M’s over the frosting and pat down with a spatula to set the M&M’s.
Let the cookie bar sit for about 10 minutes to rest. This allows the frosting and M&M’s to set up. Cut into bars. Recipe will make approximately 24 bars, depending on bar size.
Enjoy these delicious cookie bars alone or with some ice-cream…..