Frugal Foodie Mama: Peanut M&M's Buckeye Bars

Friday, December 6, 2013

Peanut M&M's Buckeye Bars

Peanut butter and chocolate is just one of those baking flavor combos that is perfect any time of the year.  Throw in some Peanut M&M's?  And oh yeah!  You have yourself a crowd pleaser for sure. :)

As some of you may have seen me mention before, I lived about 8 years in the scarlet & gray city of Columbus, Ohio.  I embraced the Buckeyes culture after a couple of years of living there.  It was difficult to not get caught up in it all, especially on a game day Saturday (and even more so if that game happened to be against the Wolverines ;) ).  
Buckeye candies were the signature candy of the city.  You could find them in every store there.  For those of you not familiar with a Buckeye candy, it is basically a peanut butter fudge ball that is dipped into chocolate leaving a small circle of the peanut butter candy open at the top thus resembling a Buckeye nut.
Ohio State fan or not, Buckeye candies are amazing! 

I took a nod from this beloved candy when I created my Peanut M&M's Buckeye Bars. These bars are a thick, soft chocolate fudge cookie bar topped with a rich, creamy peanut buttery fudge layer.
But you know I had to take these bars just one step further and throw some Peanut M&M's in there.
I picked up a bag of the fun holiday Peanut M&M's at my local Walmart and knew right away what tasty part they would play in my newest cookie bar creation... Folded right into that thick peanut butter fudge layer!
Peanut M&M's Buckeye Bars
by Frugal Foodie Mama
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-22 minutes
Ingredients (approx 30 bars)
    For the cookie bars
    • 1 box of chocolate fudge cake mix
    • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 egg
    For the peanut butter layer
    • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 cup Peanut M&M's, crushed
    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11x9 baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
    In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, melted butter, & egg. Mix until well combined.  
    Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
    Bake for 20-22 minutes or until set in the middle.
    Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

    Once cooled, prepare the peanut butter layer. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, & vanilla until smooth & creamy. Fold in the crushed Peanut M&M's.
    **I crushed the M&M's by placing them in a resealable bag and then taking a meat mallet to them. You could also use a rolling pin.

    Spread the peanut butter/Peanut M&M's layer evenly over the cookie bar layer.
    Place in the fridge for 1-2 hours to allow the peanut butter layer to set up.

    Cut into about 30 even squares.
    These cookie bars can be stored covered at room temperature. There is no need to refrigerate them.
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    These delicious cookie bars are the perfect class party or office party recipe!  And they surely beat out those run of the mill baked goods that most people pick up at the grocery store! ;)

    My Peanut M&M's Buckeye Bars barely lasted two days in my house!  
    At a party or get-together?  They will be gone in no time. :) You won't be trudging home with a entire tray of baked goods wondering what in the world you are going to do with all of it.

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