Every year, holiday cookie exchanges and potluck tables overflow with sugar cookies, gingerbread men, thumbprint cookies and snickerdoodles. Shake up your repertoire and bake a batch of bar cookies instead.

These are easier to make but no less delicious than drop cookies and rolled cookies, and it’s a nice surprise for family and friends expecting a plate of the usual Christmas cookies. 

These three fantastic recipes — brownie chocolate-chip cookie dough bars, chocolate chunk shortbread and peanut butter and jelly bars — are scrumptious riffs on traditional holiday treats. Plus, with these recipes, it’s easy to make some simple ingredient swaps to customize batches for your lucky recipients. 

Brownie chocolate-chip cookie dough bars

From the book Homemade for the Holidays, by Thanksgiving.com

This indulgent, multi-layered bar cookie combines brownies and chocolate-chip cookie dough into a decadent, ganache-covered dessert.

INGREDIENTS

Brownies:

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter (to grease pan)

Cookie dough batter:

  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups chocolate morsels

Chocolate ganache:

  • 2 cups dark chocolate, finely chopped 
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Chocolate shavings (for garnish)

INSTRUCTIONS

Brownies:

Cookie dough:

Ganache:

To Assemble:

More recipes: Brownie chocolate chip cookie dough

Chocolate chunk shortbread cookie bars

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