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M&M Christmas Cookie Bars

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So much faster than drop cookies and just as festive, these tasty and decadent Christmas cookie bars have a chewy cookie base and are loaded with festive M&Ms and white chocolate chips. They are a must-make during the busy holiday season!

stack of 3 festive christmas cookie bars.

Chewy M&M Christmas Cookie Bars

What’s a quick and easy dessert recipe that you can whip up easily and yet it still looks and tastes like the holidays? These M&M Christmas cookie bars are what you’re looking for.

The holiday M&M candies jazz up the bars and look perfect on a dessert tray with other fun desserts like Grinch Oreo truffles or chocolate espresso caramels.

One of my favorite things about these Christmas cookies is that they use M&M candies. In fact, I’ve made brown sugar M&M cookies and peanut butter M&M pudding cookies before and they are still some of my favorites.

The white chocolate chips look so festive with the green M&M candies. You’ll love it biting into one of these bars. 

The base of the cookies tastes like a thick, chewy, sugar cookie and the red and green colors are perfect for this time of year. If your holiday season includes a cookie exchange or a Christmas party, then you’ve got to make these Christmas cookie bars. 

Why you’ll love Christmas Cookie Bars

Perfect Christmas Treats – The M&Ms effortlessly dress up the buttery cookies for the holidays. You can also swap the holiday m&m candies for different colors, depending on what the occasion is.

Easy Bar Cookies  – It only takes 20-25 minutes for the Christmas M&M cookie bars to bake.  Then they’re ready to share with everyone. Santa too!   

Make Ahead – You can easily store them at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or even freeze them. Make a big batch of cookies and save them for later. 

closeup of christmas cookie bars with red & green sprinkles.

Equipment you’ll need

Ingredients

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe, why you need them, and possible substitutions. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card with measurements.

  • Bread Flour – Use bread flour rather than all-purpose flour for these cookie bars. They’ll end up chewier than if you used all-purpose flour because they have a higher amount of protein. Both will work, but the textures will be slightly different.  
  • Baking Soda – This is what helps the cookie bars rise.
  • Baking Powder – Reacts with the baking soda to make the Christmas cookie bars melt in your mouth. 
  • Salt – It naturally enhances all the other flavors. 
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter and let it soften a bit before you mix it in. Bring it to room temperature about 30 minutes early.
  • Dark Brown Sugar – This deepens the flavors of the cookie bars with a nice caramel, molasses flavor. It also adds moisture.
  • Granulated Sugar – This sweetens the cookie bars with brown sugar. I like using both for balance.
  • Eggs – Used as a binder to hold all the cookie bars together.
  • Vanilla Extract – This gives the cookie bars a deeper lovely vanilla flavor. 
  • M&Ms – Get enough to mix into the dough and sprinkle on top. I prefer mini M&Ms, if you can find them.
  • White Chocolate Chips – They look and taste amazing in the cookie bars. I vary from white to semi-sweet to dark.
  • Sprinkles – These are optional, but they add so many happy colors to the Christmas sugar cookie bars. 
overhead shot of labeled ingredients laid out to make christmas cookie bars.

This section shows you how to make this recipe, with process photos showing the steps to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.

  1. Step One: Grab a medium-sized bowl and mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set the flour mixture aside.
  2. Step Two: In a large bowl, cream the butter and both sugar with an electric hand mixer until it is light and fluffy. Keep blending them as you add the vanilla extract and egg. 
  3. Step ThreeAdd the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. It is going to be thicker and a bit more difficult to mix. Then, gently stir in the M&Ms and white chocolate chips (and sprinkles if you’re using them) until they are evenly distributed. 
overhead shot of cookie dough with red & green sprinkles.
  1. Step Four: Transfer the cookie dough to a parchment-lined baking pan and press down gently. Make sure the cookie dough is in an even layer. Just remember not to press down too hard or the cookies will become dense. Top with more M&Ms, white chocolate chips, or sprinkles. 
overhead shot of cookie dough in a baking dish topped with red & green sprinkles.
  1. Step Five: Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let them cool before cutting them into bars.
overhead shot of sliced christmas cookie bars with red & green sprinkles and M&Ms.

Christmas bar recipes are a great way to make easy desserts look super impressive during the busy holiday season. Their red, green, and white colors make them the perfect Christmas dessert and addition to your cookie plate. 

Serve these chocolate chip cookie bars with your favorite holiday cookies. These chewy bars will become a holiday favorite when you serve them with festive no bake Ritz cracker cookies or rich hot chocolate cookies.

And if you want to shake up the flavors, make some Copycat Savanah Smiles – they look just like snowballs! 

Tips & Suggestions

  • Save time and make the dough early. Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and bake the cookies within two days. 
  • For clean edges, when you slice the cookie bars, wipe the knife in between each cut. 
  • Swap the white chocolate chips for semi-sweet, milk, or dark chocolate chips.
  • Do not overbake the Christmas bar cookies or else they will become too dry. They are meant to be soft and gooey and will continue to set as they cool.
  • The cookie base makes for an adorably festive Christmas cookie bar as is, but you can always up your game! Sprinkle chopped candy canes on top for a little minty crunch.
  • If using sprinkles, I recommend Jimmies. They don’t bleed like other kinds do. And be sure to mix just until combined.

How to store leftovers

Store the cookie bars in an airtight food storage container or bag at room temperature for up to 5 days. Always keep them covered to lock in moisture to prevent them from drying out. 

Can I freeze holiday cookie bars?

Yes, you can freeze the cookie bars. First, place them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking tray and put the tray in the freezer. Once the cookies are frozen solid, place them together in a freezer-safe food storage bag. They will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

How to thaw frozen cookie bars

Pull them out of the freezer and let them set at room temperature until they thaw naturally.  

stack of M&M christmas cookie bars on a striped napkin.

FAQs

Can I use a different kind of baking chips? 

Yes, feel free to use your favorite kind of baking chips. Try it with butterscotch chips or milk chocolate chips. 

How do you know when the cookie bars are done baking? 

They will turn a delicious golden brown color. The toothpick trick may not work as normally you’d want to insert a toothpick into the middle of the bars and have it come out clean, but not in this case. You want them slightly soft in the middle, almost underdone because they will continue to set as they sit.

How can I make sure my Christmas cookie bars bake evenly?

You want to start by making sure to use the right dish. A Pyrex dish will work, but an aluminum pan is better. Not the disposable kinds, the real ones! Also, as tempting as it is to load it up with chocolate chips and M&M’s, don’t go overboard. If there are too many in there, the middle won’t bake up as well as it should. This creates an unevenly baked cookie bar!

What if I don’t have bread flour?

All purpose can be used, it will just affect the texture a bit.

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overhead shot of christmas cookie bars on a red plate.
stack of 3 festive christmas cookie bars.

M&M Christmas Cookie Bars

Melissa Williams | Persnickety Plates
So much faster than drop cookies and just as festive, these tasty and decadent Christmas cookie bars have a chewy cookie base and are loaded with festive M&Ms and white chocolate chips. They are a must-make during the busy holiday season!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Bake Time 22 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 Bars
Calories 273 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Christmas M&M’s plus more for topping, I prefer mini M&Ms
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips plus more for topping
  • cup holiday sprinkles plus more for topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, brown sugar, and white sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated.
  • Add in the vanilla and mix until just combined.
  • Gradually add in the flour mixture, scraping down the sides as needed. The dough will be thick.
  • Use a spatula to fold in the M&Ms, white chocolate chips, and sprinkles until evenly distributed.
  • Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan, topping with additional M&Ms, white chocolate chips, and sprinkles.
  • Bake for 22-28 minutes or until the edges are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Move the pan to a wire rack to cool for at least 30-60 minutes before slicing into bars.

Video

Notes

  • If you don’t have bread flour, you can use all purpose flour. Bread flour makes for a chewier cookie bar.
  • White chocolate chips can be replaced with semi-sweet, milk, or dark chocolate chips. 
  • I recommend using jimmies and mixing only until distributed. Overmixing, and other types of sprinkles, can cause the colors to bleed.
  • The bars are meant to be soft and gooey. Do not overbake or they will dry out. The bars will continue to set as they cool.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • Dough can be prepared and kept covered in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking.
  • I find cutting into 24 bars are a good size but if you prefer larger cookie bars, you can cut into 12.
  • Baked bars can be frozen in freezer bags with parchment paper between each layer for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter at room temperature.
 
 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 273kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 3gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 164mgPotassium: 69mgFiber: 1gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 280IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 0.4mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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