I can guess what you’re all thinking:
Oh my goodness! She’s back from the dead!
In the spirit of a belated-Halloween…muahahahaha.
Just kidding! I actually had a day to myself…as well as a bucket of leftover Halloween candy, which is why this post is coming to you today. Surprise!
Onto the very colorful subject of this post (literally)…
Halloween Candy Cookie Bars! Yay!
A complex, chewy, buttery cookie base is dotted with a plethora of chocolatey Halloween candy that makes for an irresistible treat. Plus, it comes in bar form, which I seem to have developed an affinity towards…
And why not?
With cookies, you have to worry about them spreading in the oven and them being too flat and cookie sheets being too hot between batches and chilling the dough and spacing them 2-inches apart, blah, blah, blah (not saying that I don’t love a good cookie). With cookie bars, you plop le batter into le pan, pop it in le oven, and BOOM–le cookie bars.
For today’s bars, you’ll start out with an armful of Halloween candy, preferably of the chocolate variety–I mean, if Nerds and Sour Patch float your boat, by all means, go ahead, but if I found a Skittle in my bars, I think I’d be kinda grossed out. Just sayin’.
You’ll then roughly chop the candy into small chunks. Make sure to grab a couple packets of m’n’m’s (which I’m almost positive you have laying around somewhere) and dump ‘em in. They’re what give the bars their colorful pop! Plus, unlike the other chocolates that melt all over the place while they’re baking, the candy coating keeps m’n’m’s shape pretty well. By the end, you should have cut up about two cups worth of candy.
After doing so, you’ll want to gather your other ingredients–flour, sugar, baking soda & powder, some salt, some vanilla, some honey, two eggs, a cup of melted unsalted butter, and a pinch of instant coffee. Now, you may be thinking, instant coffee? Whaaaa? but it helps to cut the sweetness of these bars. The original recipe I was following called for molasses (which I conveniently didn’t have), so I substituted honey for texture and consistency purposes, and a teaspoon of instant coffee to give it a deeper, more complex flavor–which it totally did! It adds a subtle espresso note when you first take a bite, but before you can even place your finger on what that might be, the buttery, salty notes of the honest-to-goodness cookie base take over. That, or you hit an m’n’m, and are absorbed in candy-coated-chocolatey goodness.
As per usual, the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt (of which I used coarse), and instant coffee are whisked together. Piece of cake (or cookie bar).
Next comes a slightly more hands-on (literally) part. You’re going to take the honey, vanilla, and sugar, and work it all together with your fingers so that there’s not any sugary-honey clumps. The sugar will be lightly tinted yellow. It smells a little strange, but bear with me. Baking is an art!
After that, you’ll stir together the melted butter and the eggs until it’s even. You’ll then mix the butter mixture and the sugar mixture into the dry ingredients. The batter will be thick, wet, and kinda sticky. Measure out a rough cup of the chopped candy and stir it into the batter before plopping it in a 9×13″ pan and topping it with the remaining candy.
Yes. So much yes.
Can you see the thickness of the batter? The dark dots of coffee? The chunks of nougat and caramel and peanut and deliciousness?
As far as baking times go, the recipe I was following said to bake it for up to half an hour, but mine took at least 40 minutes to set enough that it wasn’t gooey in the middle. Then again, our oven’s sorta messed up (the door doesn’t close all the way), so baking times may vary. Watch it while it bakes, and after the 25-minute mark, poke it in the middle with a toothpick to test for consistency.
Once it’s done baking, you get this glorious hodgepodge of melted candy and cookie. See the rivers of gooey chocolate, the splotches of multicolored candy coating. Gorgeous.
These bars, due to all of the melted candy–and the chewy nature of the cookie base–are thick and they’ll stick to your teeth. They taste AH-MAZING paired with a tall glass of cold milk (as most cookies do). The taste is pretty complex, what with the espresso and the caramel and the nougat and the chocolate and the peanut and the cookie base all melding together into this amazing combination that just rocks your world!
Seriously, though. It’s hands-down the best way to eat up leftover Halloween candy. Let’s get to it, shall we?
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp. instant coffee
- 2 c. granulated white sugar
- 3 tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 sticks (1 c.) unsalted butter, melted and allowed to chill
- 2 large eggs
- 2 c. chopped Halloween candy
- 1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour, and then set aside.
- 2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, and instant coffee together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- 3. In a separate bowl, work in the honey and vanilla into the sugar with your fingers until there are no clumps left. The mixture will be tinted a faint yellow.
- 4. In a different bowl, stir the eggs into the melted butter until smooth.
- 5. Pour the sugar mixture and the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring until even. Mix in a rough cup of the Halloween candy. The batter will be thick and sticky.
- 6. Place the batter into the prepared pan, evening it out with the back of a spoon or your fingertips. Top with the remaining Halloween candy.
- 7. Bake for 25-40 minutes, or until golden on top and the middle is set--when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean (not totally, or it's overdone), then it's done.
- 8. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
- 9. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk!
***I’d like to dedicate this post to my great-grandma, who passed away this morning. She led a wonderful, long life and had a very big heart–and a sweet tooth to match. We love you, Nana.*** <3
Adapted from this recipe here.