By Micah A Leal
November 30, 2018
Credit: Micah A. Leal

If I've learned anything since my niece was born, it's that to a kid holiday baking is more about how a dessert looks than anything else. Without fail, she will always pass by French macarons and glossy chocolate eclairs for a brownie decorated like a Christmas tree. So I'm constantly on the hunt for recipes that are simple, delicious, and eye catching for everyone.

A recipe for Christmas M&M cookie bars has garnered some attention recently, so we decided to give it a try. For all intents and purposes, this recipe is a basic chocolate chip cookie dough packed with mini chocolate chips, white chocolate morsels, and Christmas M&M'S. Such a high ratio of chocolate to dough makes the inside exceptionally gooey. Shaped into a thick layer, the outside is crisp and gives way to a soft interior reminiscent of warm cookie dough.

M&M'S are infinitely better inside baked goods than by themselves. Their hard candy coating holds up in the oven, so an M&M shell still cracks when bitten into after it's been baked. In this particular recipe, the mini chocolate chips almost dissolve into the dough and the white chocolate morsels turn into puddles of warm sweetness, so the M&M's provide contrasting crunchy pockets of chocolate.

As you can imagine, these cookie bars are rich and very very sweet, but make no mistake—they will be loved by the kids you serve them to this holiday season. This is how you can make them:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cream together 2 sticks room-temperature butter with 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup light brown sugar for 3 minutes. Add 3 eggs, one at a time until each is completely incorporated. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and beat for an additional 2 minutes until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add these dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, 1/4 cup white chocolate morsels, and 1 cup Christmas M&M'S. Mix on low until just combined. Pour dough into a greased 9- x 13-in baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, 1/4 cup white chocolate morsels, and 1/2 cup Christmas M&M'S. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.

Original Recipe here.