Loaded Sugar Cookie Bars

From time to time, I like to repost some of my older favorite recipes to bring them back to life from their little hiding place in my blog’s archives.  I recently brought my Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies back to life and I received many reader emails saying they would not have found the recipe otherwise!

This past weekend Kevin and I had a housewarming party to go to – grilled bbq, cold beers, frisbee, sunshine, friends, and sangria.  Now if that doesn’t spell S-U-M-M-E-R, I don’t know what does! I was pressed for time, so I wanted to make something spectacular that I knew everyone would like.  Something that was quick and a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

To me, baking something quick means BARS.  Brownies, blondies, rice krispie treats, you name it.  Bars made in under 30 minutes, with no mixer required, no chilling the dough, baking in batches, whipping up buttercream, or waiting for yeast to… ya know… do its thing.  When I’m in a rush, I need a recipe that requires NO thought and ONE pan.   I turned to an old favorite that NEVER lets me down.

I love making these cookie bars because not only are they completely over-the-top delicious, but they save me SO much time in the kitchen because they start with a pre-made sugar cookie mix!  To the mix, you may add whatever goodies your little heart desires.  I usually use whatever extras I have laying around.  Today I used mini peanut butter cups, peanut butter M&Ms, and chocolate chips. Because you can NEVER get enough PB & chocolate!

These cookie bars bake up pretty quickly, so be sure to watch them right around the 20 minute mark.  At exactly 25 minutes, they were done. They were lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edges on the sides.  They have the tendency to get too brown and almost burn, so watch them CLOSELY while they bake!

What I love most about these bars is that they are like soft, gooey, fluffy sugar cookies, but in bar form.  And they are absolutely loaded with chunks of colorful chocolate and peanut buttery goodness.  Plain, dry, crispy sugar cookies have no place in my heart.  Soft + chewy + chunky always wins!

I am so glad I made these cookie bars for the party this weekend… they were the first dessert to go and only took me a mere 30 minutes to bake up.  Mission accomplished. 🙂

Loaded Sugar Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 package prepared dry sugar cookie mix (plus ingredients called for on the back of the package - for the Pillsbury mix I used, I had to add 1 stick butter + 1 egg) OR use 1 package pre-made refrigerated sugar cookie mix
  • 1 cup peanut butter M&Ms
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini peanut butter cups (OR 1/2 cup chopped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the called-for ingredients on the sugar cookie mix to make the dough. Once dough is prepared, mix in all of your mix-ins. Don't be afraid to use your hands!
  3. Press dough evenly into the prepared baking dish. Press any extra add-ins into the top of the bars.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Make sure to cool COMPLETELY before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

Sally's Tip: Feel free to use any add-ins you have on hand.Try white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nuts, chopped candy bars, sprinkles, Reese's Pieces, etc.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

I love using packaged cake mixes, cookie mixes, and brownie mixes and jazzing them up to make something even more drool-worthy. Shortcuts are always welcome in my kitchen!  Here are some of my favorites using packaged mixes:

Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars

 

Cake Batter White Chocolate Fudge

 

Fudgy Cookies n Cream Oreo Brownies

 

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52 Comments

Comments

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks on June 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    All those M & Ms….make me want to start baking!

    • Sally on June 12, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      God I love M&Ms. Baking with them is so fun – so much color!

  2. val on June 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Why Oh Why….aren’t we neighbors?? =)

    • Sally on June 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      That’d be SO fun!! Wish I lived in sunny CA near you! 🙂

  3. Abby on June 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Hi Sally! I commented on your blog a few weeks ago when I first found it and wanted to tell you again that I love it! You’re so creative!

    • Sally on June 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Abby!! So nice to hear from you again. Thank you so much for the compliment, it truly means a lot. 🙂

  4. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life on June 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Soft chewy colorful cookies always win over dry ones! Especially ones that start from a mix…gotta love that!!! I know some people who never use a mix, so I am so happy that you like mixes as much as I do! You always have so much color you always in everything you bake!!! It makes me happy to come over here and drool!!!

    • Sally on June 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      Jocelyn, thank you! Cookie/cake mixes RULE. Love shortcuts in the kitchen. So glad you enjoy all of the girly colors all over my blog!

  5. Karly on June 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Yes, please. I’ll take three.

  6. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts on June 12, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Love all the chocolate and peanut butter in these!

  7. Reeni on June 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I am in love with cookie bars lately! These are so decadent and irresistible looking – it’s no wonder they disappeared first! I’d head right for them.

    • Sally on June 12, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      I love cookie bars, Reeni! I hardly have to think about it when I make them – they are so easy!

  8. Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl on June 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Oh my goodness, your site is a-MA-zing! I am soooo glad you found me so that I can follow you back. Yay!

    • Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl on June 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Hee, you probably think I am CRAZY. I got your site link via Back4Seconds in the group e-mail she sent. =) Anyway, I am in love with your blog!

    • Sally on June 12, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      Ashley! So glad we found each other! Love your site too 🙂

  9. Hayley on June 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Gorgeous and awesome. Bars are so easy and versatile–one of the reasons why I’m OBSESSED with making them 🙂 throw whatever you’ve got on hand and cut those suckers up and you have dessert in no time. I’m sure your friends were beyond impressed and delighted when these showed up to the party with you. I would be (and would promptly hoard the pan and lock myself in a back bedroom).

  10. Julie @ Table for Two on June 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    you should come make these for my housewarming party in July! haha.. I love that you’re remaking so past recipes, i need to do the same so I can retake the crappy pictures!!

    • Sally on June 13, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Housewarming party! I know you will make some FABULOUS eats! I like to remake old recipes and get rid of some (embarassing) photos! lol

  11. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes on June 12, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    What a fun recipe! Love how quick and easy it is.

  12. Back For Seconds on June 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    OH, Sally. A girl after my heart. You are 100% right, you can never have too much PB and Chocolate!! And M&M’s are my weakness! I can eat a whole bag in one sitting. Sooooo bad ;/ These look perfect to me. I would choose the very same add ins! Yum Yum!

    • Sally on June 13, 2012 at 8:30 am

      M&Ms are my weakness too. Especially the PB M&Ms!!

  13. Katie on June 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Eeee! These would be perfect for the BBQ I’m going to on Friday!

    • Sally on June 14, 2012 at 5:58 am

      Thanks Katie! They would be a hit at a bbq! 🙂

  14. [email protected] on June 15, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Hi Sally, I just saw this picture on Foodgawker and couldn’t stop appreciating the clicks!! The recipe looks delish!My kids love cookies and I have to keep them happy by learning and baking. Loved your recipes and will be back again and again. Will try your version of M&M cookies and lot more!

    • Sally on June 15, 2012 at 6:28 am

      So glad to hear that Anamika! These sugar cookie bars are so easy and I know that kids love them! They are colorful, bright, sweet, and full of m&ms! You’ll love the M&M cookies too.

  15. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust on June 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

    What a great recipe! Totally gonna do these sometime.

  16. val on October 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    This is such a dreamy dessert bar.

  17. […] When you go for a treat, do you GO for it e.g. this recipe for loaded sugar cookie bars […]

  18. Val from PA on February 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Made these last night and they were wonderful!!! Was looking for something to do with the bag of sugar cookie mix that Betty Crocker sent me, other than plain old cookies. We used regular M&M’s and chocolate chips. Thanks for the great idea!

    • Sally on February 8, 2013 at 11:24 am

      Hey Val! Betty Crocker sent you sugar cookie mix? I’m jealous! I love their sugar cookie mix, especially in this recipe. So glad you made these! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

      • Val from PA on February 8, 2013 at 11:32 am

        LOL yeah… I love freebies! I think I signed up for it on BetterCrocker.com…..



  19. Jackie on May 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    WOW these look amazing! I’ll be making these later today, but I’m going to try to cut back on the butter. We’ll see how they turn out!

    • Sally on May 24, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Let me know how you like them!

      • Jackie on May 24, 2013 at 9:21 pm

        I might just go out and buy 5 more boxes of sugar cookie mix in order to make more of these bad boys, they are THAT good! I used 3 T of butter and 2 T of greek yogurt to “healthify” them, but who was I kidding..I threw in a pack of M&M’s and 2 T of chocolate chips, a little chocolate couldn’t hurt, right? They turned out great, and I think my family would agree judging by how fast they gobbled them up!



      • Sally on May 25, 2013 at 7:09 am

        I have to try them with greek yogurt. I’m so happy you all loved these Jackie!



  20. Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} on May 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    My 14 year old daughter was bored so I asked if she wanted to bake something. She said sure, that sounds like fun.

    I pulled up your blog and told her to pick anything she wanted and she could make it. There were several contenders!

    In the end, these sugar cookie bars won! (So easy to make, perfect for a 14 year old!) She ended up using peanut M & M’s and pretzel M & M’s because peanut butter M&M’s no longer exist?!?!

    They were a huge hit with the kids! I think they ate half the pan as soon as they were cool enough.

    • Sally on May 25, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      I’m glad you chose my site to bake from, Anna! I love your daughter’s choice of add-ins. Peanut Butter M&Ms no longer exist?!?!??! Where have I been? That’s a huge disappointment! I loved those. Anyway, I’m glad these were a hit!

      • Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} on May 28, 2013 at 10:45 am

        Hi again!

        My daughter wanted to bring a snack to school and since this recipe was so easy, she wanted to make another batch. This time, she chose peanut butter cookie dough, mini Reese’s Pieces, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and Heath bar crushed up.

        I love this recipe, it’s easy enough for her to make on her own and the combinations are endless!

        Thanks Sally 🙂

        PS~Happy Birthday!!



      • Sally on May 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm

        I must try this with peanut butter cookie dough! Your daughter is so creative. Heath + peanut butter sounds so good. Thanks Anna!



  21. Heather on October 3, 2013 at 1:43 am

    OMG I made these for my boyfriend and sent some to my brother in college….they are both sugar freaks! They LOVED it! I put peanut butter m&ms, mini chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts…delicious! I think I’m going to try some dark chocolate m&ms instead of peanut butter ones next time 🙂 Great recipe!

    • Sally on October 3, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Hey Heather! SO glad you made these. And they are the perfect recipe to send to loved ones because they package so nicely. Dark chocolate M&Ms would be SO good.

  22. Jen on January 21, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    These sound wonderful, so happy that I came across them while looking over your site. Just a question, how long do they stay fresh covered at room temperature? Thanks so much!

    • Sally on January 22, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Hey Jen! About 1 week. But they won’t last that long!

  23. Christina on March 31, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    has anyone had the issue of the middle being completely raw? I could only find the betty crocker mix but also added an extra stick of butter and an egg so maybe that’s why mine isn’t working? I’m usually not incompetent in making these types of things?

    • Sally on March 31, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      That’s why your bars aren’t coking – too many wet ingredients! I suggest sticking to the recipe. Thanks Christina!

  24. Bethany on November 10, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Hi! These look fantastic and as soon as I get a reply (if I can wait!) I WILL be making two pans! This might be a silly question, but would they still turn out if I used half a stick of butter and made up for the rest in peanut butter? I only have regular M&Ms and I NEED peanut butter in my cookies=) thanks in advance!

  25. April on December 1, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    How long do I bake these if I wanted to double the recipes?

  26. Sara on February 7, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Just made these for a Super Bowl party, I pulled out just the blue and orange peanut butter m&m’s and called them Bronco Bars, so yummy, everyone loved them! I baked them for a few minutes over the called for 25 minutes and they were perfectly gooey yet fully cooked. Thanks for the idea and recipe 🙂

  27. Catherine A on August 26, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Just wondering if the fudge ripple
    Monster bars freeze well? This was the closest recipe I could find to them on the site hahaha

  28. Lydia on November 16, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Hey Sally! These look so easy to make, and are so colorful! I’ll be making them for a potluck tomorrow. If I wanted to make it again, without the premade mix, could I use your sugar cookie bar base? (Like the one for the Frosted Sugar Cookie bars) or would it not be able to handle the add-ins? Or do you have a different recommendation? Just for those days when I have a bit more time. 🙂

    • Sally on November 17, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Hi Lydia! Yep, you can use my from-scratch sugar cookie bar base instead.

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