5 Gourmet Dessert Bars for Your Next Holiday Party

posted: 12/09/16
by: Blythe Copeland

Cookies are an essential part of the holiday season, but all that scooping, rolling, frosting, and decorating can seriously cut into your shopping time (or your watching-old-movies-with-a-glass-of-wine time, if that's your style). Simplify your winter baking schedule with these easy cookie bars that look -- and taste! -- like you spent all day making them.

1. Sugar Cookie Bars

via Averie Cooks

Roll-and-cut sugar cookies are a holiday tradition -- but they're also time consuming and messy, especially if you have little hands "helping." Serving them as sugar cookie bars cuts the workload; both these Christmas-inspired recipes start with a packaged sugar cookie mix, which makes them even easier. Mix in red and green M&Ms and white chocolate chips in this how-to from Betty Crocker, or make them look store-bought by topping the bars with homemade cream cheese frosting and festive sprinkles using this recipe from Averie Cooks.

2. Christmas 7-Layer Cookie Bars

via Tablespoon

Give crowd-pleasing seven layer bars a simple holiday makeover with a few simple swaps: Use sugar cookie dough instead of graham crackers for the base, and sub white chocolate chips and red and green candies in place of the usual chocolate chips. This recipe from Tablespoon also uses pretzels instead of pecans -- not a seasonal change, but one that makes the bars nut-allergy friendly.

3. Gingerbread Bars with Eggnog Cream Cheese Frosting

Via Kitchen Addiction

Gingerbread and eggnog are two of the season's must-have treats -- and combined into these bars from A Kitchen Addiction, they're a quick, cheery addition to your dessert buffet. The from-scratch bars bake in just 20 minutes, and sprinkling red and green nonpareils or sugars on top of eggnog-spiked cream cheese frosting makes them almost too pretty to eat. If you want to skip the frosting, try a soft-baked bar drizzled with white chocolate using this recipe rom Whole and Heavenly Oven.

4. Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Via A Spicy Perspective

Dress up your favorite chocolate chip cookies by adding a trendy salted caramel filling. Layer half of the cookie dough in a 9x13 inch baking dish, then top with a layer of melted caramels and sea salt, and finish with the remaining dough. It's less work than scooping several dozen plain cookies -- and the rich, sweet caramel makes a delicious, creamy filling.

5. Candy Cane Oreo Cookie Bars

Via Sugary Sweets

Crushed Candy Cane Oreos mixed with butter, sugar, flour, dark cocoa, and red and green chocolate chips make up the base of these rich, chocolatey bars from Sugary Sweets, while the white chocolate frosting offers a sweet complement to the rich bar. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top for a festive finish and minty taste to pair with your favorite hot chocolate recipe.