Stop scooping out rounded teaspoons of dough and start spreading that cookie out into bar form. Not only is it a method anyone who loves thick, chewy cookies needs to try, but it’s for anyone who wants to save time and bake the whole batch at once. Here you’ll find 7 bar cookie recipes loaded up with chocolate, nuts, jams, and a host of other sweet ingredients that will help you create a delicious dessert.
1. Rocky Ledge Bars
Martha Stewart had loaded up cookie bars with marshmallows, toffee, caramel, and chocolate to create a decadent dessert no one will pass up. It yields about 16 bars, and they will keep for a week when stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1½ cups packed dark-brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup miniature marshmallows
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup toffee chips
- 18 soft caramel-candy cubes, coarsely chopped
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the longer sides. Brush parchment with butter (not overhang.)
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until well combined. Mix in flour mixture until combined. Fold in half of each of the marshmallows, chocolates, toffee chips, and caramels.
Spread batter in prepared pan. Scatter remaining marshmallows, chocolates, butterscotch chips, and caramels on top. Bake until top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Lift out of pan, and transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes. Remove parchment, and cut into about 16 triangles. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
2. Snickerdoodle Bars
You don’t need to completely reinvent a classic when you want something different. Betty Crocker took the basic snickerdoodle and put it into bar form with this recipe, which yields about 2 dozen cinnamon sugar-filled glazed bars.
- 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray or grease bottom only of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on high speed until creamy. Beat in sugars. Gradually beat in eggs and vanilla into sugar mixture until combined. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients until combined.
Spoon half the batter into pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over batter. Dollop teaspoon size amounts of remaining batter evenly over cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour. In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over bars. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.
3. Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Rich, thick, chewy cookies with a slight crunch await anyone who makes the peanut butter and chocolate chip bars from the Cooking Channel. It will yield about 24 bars that will each taste amazing served alongside a glass of cold milk.
- 2¼cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- ⅔ cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (about 12½ ounces)
- ½ cup chopped salted peanuts (about 2 ounces)
Directions: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch (this will help you lift the bar easily from the pan in one piece.) Spray the pan with cooking spray.
Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter and sugars until combined. Use a whisk or a rubber spatula to mix in the egg, egg yolk, peanut butter, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined (be careful not to over mix the dough or the bars will be tough.) Fold in the chocolate chips and the peanuts.
Scrape the dough into the prepared pan, pressing and smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until the top is slightly golden and firm to the touch and the edges are starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Lift up on the foil overhang to remove the bar from the pan, and transfer it to a cutting board. Cut it into 2-inch squares.
4. Peach Melba Shortbread Bars
Shortbread, although delicious, can be a little plain on its own. Southern Living has seen to this problem, adding a mixture of peach and raspberry preserves to keep your sweet tooth satisfied. It yields 2 dozen bars.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cold butter
- 1 cup peach preserves
- 6 teaspoons raspberry preserves
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- Garnish: powdered sugar
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup flour mixture. Lightly grease an 11 x 7-inch or 9-inch square pan. Press remaining flour mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Spread peach preserves over crust in pan. Dollop raspberry preserves by 1/2 teaspoonfuls over peach preserves. Sprinkle reserved 1 cup flour mixture over preserves. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake another 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Garnish, if desired.
5. Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Not everyone is in favor of mixing their peanut butter with their chocolate chip cookies, and if that applies to you, follow King Arthur Flour’s recipe instead. You can use salted or unsalted butter in the recipe, but if unsalted butter is used, use 1 teaspoon instead of 3/4 of a teaspoon.
- ⅔ cup (10⅔ tablespoons) butter
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon butterscotch flavor or vanilla-butternut flavor, optional
- 3 large eggs
- 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder, optional
- 2¾ cups all purpose flour
- 3 cups chocolate chips; or a combination of different flavored chips, or chips and nuts
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan. Melt the butter, and stir in the brown sugar. Add the salt, vanilla, and flavor, stirring until well combined.
Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl midway through this process. Add the baking powder, espresso powder, and flour, stirring to combine. Stir in the chips or other additions of your choice.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges with a wet spatula. Smooth the top as best you can. Bake the bars for 30 to 32 minutes, until they’ve risen, and their top is shiny and golden. Bake for the shorter amount of time in a darker pan; the longer time in a light/shiny pan. A cake tester inserted into the center won’t come out clean; in fact, the center of the very middle of the pan may look quite molten when you dig into it. But so long as no wet batter is showing farther out towards the edges, the bars are done. As they cool, the center will solidify.
Remove the bars from the oven, and use a heatproof spatula to press down the risen edges; this will make bars with flat, rather than humped tops. Let the bars cool completely before cutting; overnight is best. Once bars are cool, wrap airtight. Store wrapped bars at room temperature for a couple of days.
6. Maple-Date Bars
The bar cookies from Cooking Light are a delightful mixture of sweet ingredients — like dates and maple syrup — and hearty, good-for-you oats. The only thing sweeter than the natural sugar in the dates is how easily you can make the recipe. It makes about 20 bars.
- 1¾ cups finely chopped pitted dates (about 12 ounces)
- ¾ cup water
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup regular oats
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Cooking spray
Directions: Combine dates, water, and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; cook 12 minutes or until most liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. (Mixture will look like jam.) Stir in rind; cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture (mixture will be crumbly.) Press 2 cups flour mixture into bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Spread date mixture over flour mixture. Sprinkle with remaining flour mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
7. Hello Dolly Bars
Also known as “magic bars” and “seven layer bars,” hello dolly bars have a little bit of everything. Food.com‘s recipe shows how incredibly easy it is to make and bake these layered cookies.
- 4 tablespoons butter or 4 tablespoons margarine
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup coconut, grated
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup nuts, chopped
- 1 cup butterscotch chips (optional)
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in an 11 x 7-inch baking pan, making sure the sides of the pan are coated. Layer cracker crumbs, coconut, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and butterscotch chips in that order. Pour sweetened condensed milk over everything. Bake for 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Loosen from the pan; cool and cut into squares.