We are slowly getting back to reality in my house.
The Christmas tree is down.
The garland is put away.
The Christmas decorations have been carefully wrapped back up and placed in their proper storage containers in the attic.
The pantry is full of our go-to pantry staples (canned beans, pasta, canned tomatoes, brown rice) and most of the special treats (the peppermint bark, 15 pounds of chocolate chips, marshmallows) are gone.
As I was in a total cooking funk over the past few days, I decided to use up the last of the “holiday wrapped” candy that was hanging out in our holiday candy dish (since the dish needed to go with it’s brethren back to the attic). It was an awkward amount of candy, so I decided to take a page out of Laura at JoyFoodSunshine’s book and make stuffed cookie bars.
And boy, did they kick the January Blues to the curb!
I put a twist on her recipe by adding in some oatmeal to the cookie dough, which added a nutty element to the bar. Besides, I believe that cookie dough + oatmeal = forever.
Best thing about this recipe? You have cookies in 30 minutes… which means that you can enjoy dessert ASAP (and when was that a bad thing?).
They start with the dry ingredients.
Flour + quick oats + baking soda + baking powder + salt. Whisk together to combine.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter + granulated sugar + brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in an egg and some vanilla extract. Then add in the dry ingredients.
And some dark chocolate chips!
Now we assemble!
Grab half the dough and press into the bottom of a greased AND parchment paper-lined 9×9-inch pan. Make a rough square that is about ½-1 inch away from the sides (the cookies will expand – I promise!).
Then layer on your leftover candy – I used mini peanut butter cups and Hershey Kisses.
Layer the second half of the dough over the first, making sure that all the candy is covered.
For an optional finish, sprinkle over some festive sprinkles! Pop the cookie bars into a 350-degree oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are golden and the center is just set! Let the bars cool completely before devouring.
Definitely a treat to brighten up January!
How do you kick the mid-winter blues?
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup quick oats
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- 10-16 chocolate candies, I used Hershey Kisses and mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
- Sprinkles for garnish, optional
- Cooking spray
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray and then line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until combine.
- With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Add in the chocolate chips and mix until distributed.
- Portion out half the dough and press into the baking dish, leaving a ½-1 inch border (the cookies will spread!). Layer the candies in a grid like pattern over the cookie dough. Then press the second half of the dough over the candies, using your hands to make straight edges. Pop the baking dish into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are golden and the middle is set.
- Let the cookies cool before cutting and serving. Enjoy!