Chocolate sugar cookies serve as a base for these Peppermint Chocolate Cookie Bars with a thick layer of fluffy, sweet peppermint buttercream and a simple yet adorable holiday string light decoration with mini M&M’s
It’s the holidays and as much as we all want to do #allthethings sometimes it’s just.not.possible. So when it comes to cookies, bar cookies are an easy way to create a homemade treat with minimal effort. My Peppermint Chocolate Cookie Bars are easy to whip up and I’ve given you the cutest yet simplest way to decorate them so you can maximize your holiday fun and minimize your holiday fuss
Here are a few tips to ensure these treats go as smoothly, and as quickly as possible.
The cookies are a chocolate sugar cookie base so they’re lighter than a brownie but slightly crumbly.
- Tip: When you put the dough into the pan, use your hands and a small rolling pin to gently push the cookie dough into the corners as it won’t spread easily.
While the Peppermint Chocolate Cookie Bars bake, whip up the peppermint frosting! It’s my standard vanilla frosting base with just a touch of peppermint extract. Peppermint extract is dangerous. Even a drop too much can turn your treat from delicious to medicinal.
- Tip: Measure the peppermint extract away from the frosting bowl and add it to the frost 1 drop at a time, tasting as you go to get your desired flavor.
Frost your Peppermint Chocolate Cookie Bars then cut them into squares. Sadly, cutting perfect squares are difficult in a 9×13 inch pan. To achieve 2-inch by 2-inch squares, once baked, I cut a 1/2 inch of cookie off of each side of the pan before cutting it all into squares. It reduces the size of the pan to 8×12 inches which makes it easy to cut.
- Tip: Use a ruler and mark every 2-inches (both across and length-wise) before making your hard cuts into the bars. As for the scraps, those are baker scraps that you can nibble on while you work!
When it comes time to decorate the Peppermint Chocolate Cookie Bars, don’t worry too much about making perfectly strung lights out of the M&Ms!
- Tip: The less precise you are, the better the string lights will look — just like in real life, sometimes the lights hang a little low or a little high!
Enjoy these easy, quick treats and have a great holiday with your loved ones!
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup greek yogurt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup dutch cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups vanilla frosting, recipe below
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tube black Wilton Decorator's frosting**
- ½ cup mini M&Ms
- Preheat oven to 375*F
- Line a 9x13 inch pan with a sheet of parchment paper
- In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the softened butter on medium until creamy, 1-2 minutes
- Add in both the sugars and mix another minute on medium
- Add the egg, vanilla, and yogurt, beating until combined
- Add in the flour-cocoa mixture in 2 additions until all the dry ingredients are fully combined*
- Turn the dough out into the prepared pan and using your hands or a small rolling pin, evenly spread the dough into all corners of the pan
- Place in oven and bake for 13-14 minutes
- Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting combine 2 cups vanilla frosting with ¼ teaspoon of peppermint extract, adding more as desired
- Frost the cookies using an offset spatula and cut into bars, remove cookies from pan & decorate
- To decorate, use the black frosting and a Wilton 2 tip to draw lines on to the cut bar cookies
- Adorn the cookies with mini M&Ms set on their side to look like holiday string lights
** Alternately, you can color a ½ cup of the remaining vanilla frosting black and place it in a decorator's bag with a Wilton 2 tip rather than purchasing pre-made black frosting
- ½ cup, 1 stick unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 2 pounds confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extra
- 4-6 tablespoons half & half
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and shortening.
- Add in 4 tablespoons half & half and the vanilla extract. Combine well.
- Add the meringue powder, salt and 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar and combine.
- Continue adding the confectioner’s sugar, 1 cup at a time until it’s all combined into the frosting.
- Add the additional tablespoons of half & half to achieve the desired thickness.