Cookie Bars That Are Fast to Make and Fast to Disappear

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When making a treat for kids, it's hard to go wrong with peanut butter, chocolate chips or Reese's Pieces. Since these bars combine all three, they're a definite slam dunk! Inspired by classic blondies, with a texture somewhere in between brownies and cookies, these gooey bars make perfect lunchbox snacks or weeknight desserts. Bonus: From start to finish, the entire recipe takes less than 30 minutes.

Warning

Don't overbake these bars! They taste best with a gooey, soft-baked texture, so start checking them after 18 minutes of baking – or even a tad earlier – and remove them from the oven when the edges are just golden brown but the bars still seem a little soft in the middle.

Total Time: 30 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 18 to 24

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar (granulated or brown)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Reese's Pieces
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Tip

Natural or homemade peanut butter won't work well in this recipe, even if you stir it thoroughly. For best results, use a smooth, spreadable peanut butter that doesn't need to be stored in the fridge.

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking pan by coating it with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and peanut butter together with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda and salt.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, beating on low speed just until combined.
  5. Using a spatula, fold in the Reese's Pieces and chocolate chips.
  6. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake at 350F for 18 to 25 minutes, or until the edges of the bars are golden brown.
  8. Let the bars cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tip

Although these bars will never be a health food, you can modify the recipe to make them healthier without sacrificing great taste. Try making any or all of the following changes:

  • Reduce the butter to 6 tablespoons
  • Reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup
  • Replace 1 cup of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour
  • Add 1 cup of old-fashioned oats to the batter before baking