If you need an easy dessert idea for the upcoming 4th of July weekend, this is THE ONE! These cookie bars get a little patriotic treatment courtesy of a heavy dose of red, white & blue M&M's candies that I picked up at Walmart.
Now, I love a good cookie as much as the next person, but waiting for the butter to soften + chilling the dough + rolling and baking multiple trays = a lot of extra time that I can't always squeeze into my schedule. Which is why I often turn to cookie bars instead.
There's no creaming softened butter and sugar together in this cookie bar recipe. Instead, you melt the butter and sugar together in a saucepan -- so there's no last minute "oops, I forgot to take the butter out to soften. Now what?" moments. And you spread all of the batter in a single layer, waiting to cut into bars until it's baked and cooled. Little shortcuts that create BIG time savings!
While my whole family agrees that M&M's (patriotic or not) really make these cookie bars. The crunchy chocolatey sweetness is a very satisfying pairing. However, we're a house divided when it comes to adding chocolate chips. My girls and I prefer them without -- it results in a chewier bar that contrasts well with the texture of the M&M's.
But my husband and boys love them with the chocolate chips. Hmm, maybe it's a gender thing??? Anyhow, the chips melt as you stir them in, thickening up the batter to create a crunchier, crispier cookie.
I'll admit I do think they have a little more visual appeal with the chocolate chips -- I used them for the photos in this post. Try them both with and without and decide for yourself!