Hooray for the Red, White & Blue

Hooray for the Red, White & Blue

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Monster Taste

These Monster Cookie Bars are a twist on a classic cookie. They have the ingredients of Monster Cookies, but the dough is spread in a sheet cake pan instead of plopped onto cookie sheets for the traditional drop version. Quick and easy are as good a combination as M&Ms and peanut butter, don't you think?

I found the recipe on a favorite food blog, A Farmgirl's Dabbles. Brenda updates recipes from her South Dakota mom and grandmas, focusing on farm cooking, baking and family traditions. I think these bars will become a family tradition for us, too. I had printed out the recipe, and Jill put them together for harvest suppers in June. My cutest taste tester approved, and Jill wanted the recipe to take home.
It seemed a sure bet to make them again for a 4th of July potluck gathering Randy and I attended at Elm Mills with my brother and his family.

My intuitions were right: The whole plate of the M & M-dotted bars were gone before the first fireworks colored the night sky.
Want an explosion of flavor at your house, too? If you try them, let me know, OK?
Monster Cookie Bars

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups peanut butter (crunchy or smooth. I like crunchy)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3-1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 12.6-oz. bag milk chocolate M&M's, divided
Sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12- by 17-inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Set aside.  

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until incorporated. Add flour, oatmeal, baking soda, and salt, and mix again until incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and about half the M&M's. Press into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining M & Ms, and, if you're baking for a special holiday, you can also add appropriate sprinkles. (I added red, white and blue star sprinkles for the 4th of July potluck.) Bake for 14 to 15 minutes. These bars are meant to be chewy, so do not over bake! Cool completely on wire rack, then cut into 48  bars. 


Notes: The original recipe called for a whole bag of chocolate chips and a whole bag of M & Ms. I didn't use quite that many. I had a partial bag of chocolate chips. I had mini M & Ms on hand. I put about half in the dough, then sprinkled the rest on top, making the bars more festive.

At A Farmgirl's Dabbles, Brenda dressed up her bars for the 4th by decorating with frosting and sprinkles. She says: "I used a can of fudge frosting that I picked up in the baking aisle. Place frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip and swirl the frosting onto the top of each bar. Add some red, white, and blue sprinkles, and you're set!"

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It's Wednesday, so I'm again linked to another of my favorite food blogs, Wichitan Ashley's What's In Your Kitchen Wednesday.  Click on the link to see what's cooking in other people's kitchens.

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