M and M bars

Ok, I admit it – I have been in a bit of a baking rut recently.  I haven’t wanted to try out too many new fancy recipes because I’ve been cooped up in my apartment for the past several weeks studying to take the GMAT.  Now that that’s over though, I am ready to get back into entertaining which of course means fancier desserts.  But until then, I shall tide you over with a ridiculously simple recipe that is nonetheless one of the better things I’ve made in the past few months.  It is amazing what the addition of simple M&Ms can do to a baked good – they make it colourful and fun looking and also add another element of texture, especially if they are crispy M&Ms like I used in these bars.

This is a really fun dessert that’s excellent for sharing and just looks very pretty.  It would be the perfect thing to bring to a dinner party as a contribution or take on a plane if you happen to be visiting the Melbourne office for a week and want to bring baked goods  to the other associates.  Plane-able baked goods are very important to me. 🙂

M and M bars (adapted from Fearless Homemaker)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
170 g / 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 12oz bag M&M’s (340 g bag), divided – you can use any type of M&M here, but I used crispy M&Ms and that was an epic win of a decision.  I don’t even know if you can find crispy M&Ms in the states anymore but they are everywhere in Australia which is amazing.  However, I don’t believe Australia has pretzel M&Ms and the U.S. does, so it’s a toss up for M&M domination between the two countries for me.  I think pretzel M&Ms would be amazing in these so if you can find them definitely try that.

Preheat the oven to 180 c / 350 F.  Grease a large rectangular pan and set it aside. 

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and mix well.  Then add the salt, baking soda, and one cup of the flour.  Once that has been mixed in, add about half the bag of M&Ms and chocolate chips, and then add the other cup of flour, mixing everything in gently until it comes together.  It will not be a stiff dough like you would get for cookies.

Spread it into the pan and press the remaining M&Ms on top of the bars.  Enjoy how colourful it is.  Bake for about 25 minutes, and check them at 20 minutes.  When they are done, they will be light golden brown, and you can stick a knife or toothpick in and it will come out clean.  I may have taken mine out when they were slightly underdone, but it’s better this way because if you put them in the fridge for an hour or so they will firm right up and have a gloriously chewy texture.  You are supposed to let them cool completely before cutting, but I obviously didn’t wait for them to be cool before trying one.  However, if you do put it in the fridge for a while and then cut them, it will be much easier and the texture is actually even better the next day.

 

IMG_4776Wet ingredients – adding eggs and vanilla to the creamed butter and sugar mixture

IMG_4777Adding in the flour and chocolate chips

IMG_4778Adding in the M&Ms

IMG_4779Pressing the remaining M&Ms on top before baking

IMG_4780Finished bars…soooo good

Seriously, the texture on these is fantastic.  They are a little crunchy on the edges but chewy in the middle and the crispy M&Ms add some crunch.  They are also ridiculously easy to make and are even less time consuming than a basic cookie recipe because you just spread them in a pan.  I normally wouldn’t buy M&Ms but in the future I plan on buying bags solely to make these bars again!

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