Bars, Desserts, Recipes

Flourless Monster Cookie Bars (Gluten Free)

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you’ll enjoy all summer long! They’re also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

I LOVE cookie bars. I love cookies too, but making them can be a huge pain. So I usually choose to make cookie bars. This recipe intrigued me because they looked ooey gooey (especially the center pieces!) AND they’re baked in a half size sheet pan so the recipe makes a ton! They’re perfect for every social event of the summer, from cookouts to pool parties and everything in between. Of course, they can also be made year-round. 🙂

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

As with any other Monster Cookie, these bars are full of oats, peanut butter deliciousness, M&Ms, and mini chocolate chips. As the recipe is written, it calls for both old-fashioned and quick oats. It’s a texture thing I guess, and I’ve always followed the recipe in that way everytime I’ve made them. I usually just pulse some old-fashioned oats in the food processor to achieve a finer texture. If you only have one kind of oats or the other, that’s fine too… the recipe should turn out.

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

One reason I was excited to make these cookie bars (aside from their simplicity and fabulous, addictive taste) is that they are so easy to make gluten free! Our family isn’t gluten free (and I’m not an expert) BUT I do have some friends who are, so I like to have some tried and true recipes on hand that they can enjoy as well. For this recipe, you just need to make sure to use gluten free oats. In my experience, most of the other ingredients should be gluten free naturally–but check labels if this is an issue for you, particularly for the peanut butter, vanilla, and M&Ms. If you are gluten free and I missed anything, please feel free to share in the comments! I hope you love these bars as much as we do!

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

P.S. They free wonderfully and taste great at room temperature or heated up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds–so don’t be afraid of the large batch… I’m sure you’ll find a use for them. 🙂

one year ago: Honey Banana Muffins
two years ago: Ricotta Pancakes
three years ago: Italian Tortilla Rollups
four years ago: Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese
five years ago: Cinnamon Carrot Muffins
six years ago: Sweet Potato Waffles

Flourless Monster Cookie Bars (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 45 small bars
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from Together as Family


  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (I use regular/not natural peanut butter for baking)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free quick oats (I usually just pulse old-fashioned oats a couple times in the food processor to break them down a bit)
  • 3 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats
  • 1-2 cups mini M&Ms (pssst: at my grocery story, mini M&Ms found in the candy aisle are cheaper than the “baking bits” M&Ms found in the baking aisle and seem to be the same)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet (half size sheet pan) with parchment or a silpat.

With a stand mixer, beat together brown sugar, sugar, peanut butter, and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. Mix in baking soda.

Add oats and beat on low to just combine, then use a wooden spoon to mix in most of the M&Ms and mini chocolate chips until well incorporated. You can save a little of each to press on top of the bars if desired.

Turn out dough onto prepared baking sheet. Spread the dough out–it is a little tricky, but i found that greasing my hands or a spatula were the best ways to spread out the dough. Top with reserved M&Ms and mini chocolate chips, pressing them in gently.

Bake for about 17-20 minutes–do not overbake! The edges should be just browned and the middle will look underdone but it will finish baking as it cools. Cool for at least an hour so the bars can set.

Once cool, slice and enjoy! These bars also freeze well.

Note: I am not an expert, but I THINK if you use gluten free oats, this would be a great gluten free dessert recipe. From what I’ve read, most M&Ms (including mini M&Ms) are gluten free. You may need to check labels of other ingredients like the vanilla and peanut butter–the brands I use at home are gluten free but all are not. If you’re gluten free and I’ve overlooked anything, please chime in!

Bars, Desserts, Recipes

Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Bars

These gooey and quick from-scratch cookie bars are filled with lots of chocolate and butterscotch. They’re perfect for when you wanted dessert an hour ago. 🙂

These gooey and quick from-scratch cookie bars are filled with lots of chocolate and butterscotch. They're perfect for when you wanted dessert an hour ago. :)

There’s nothing worse than wanting dessert an hour ago and not getting it, right? My problem always is that I talk myself out of making something, and then a couple hours have gone by and I still want that yummy treat I didn’t make! Ugh, I hate when I do that to myself! In those cases, you have two choices. You can go out and get something [but I’m so frugal and such a homebody that option doesn’t appeal to me very often] OR you can make something quickly. In the latter scenario, you need recipes that do not require softened butter. Because softening butter in the microwave never works. At least not for me!

In the past, my go-to solution for this was these brownies. They’re chocolatey, they’re delicious, and they have you melt the butter on the stove. Perfecto! [And you can make them sans mint too, btw.] Sometimes though, you want something that isn’t quite so intensely chocolatey. Enter these Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Bars! They are cookie bars through and through–crisp tops and chewy middles. Not quite a blondie, not quite a cookie. Cookie bars are their own entity, and they are pretty darn delicious, if I do say so myself. 🙂

These gooey and quick from-scratch cookie bars are filled with lots of chocolate and butterscotch. They're perfect for when you wanted dessert an hour ago. :)

These cookie bars are bursting with tons of butterscotch flavor… from the brown sugar to the butterscotch chips, their flavor has the best sweet butter/molasses/sugar notes you can ask for. And the chocolate chips? Well, they’re just a bonus. A delicious bonus! Enjoy! 🙂

one year ago: Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart
two years ago: Oatmeal Fudge Bars
three years ago: Neely’s Lemon Pasta Salad
four years ago: Pineapple-Apricot Teriyaki Chicken
five years ago: Sweet and Tangy Pork Chops with Pineapple with Coconut Toasted Rice

Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Bars

  • Servings: 24
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from Just a Little Bit of Bacon


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, 12 ounces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 6.5 ounces
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl or saucepan, melt butter in the microwave or on the stove. When butter is melted, add brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Bonus–you can use the same bowl or saucepan! Just move the saucepan off the heat.

One at a time, add in the eggs and stir until incorporated. Then add the vanilla, salt, and baking powder and stir to combine. Add flour and stir until almost combined, then fold in chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Do not overbake! The bars are done when the tops are set and a little shiny, golden brown in color, and pulling away from the side of the pan. Cool completely [or most of the way] before cutting into bars if you want them to look pretty. Otherwise, they can be cut pretty soon; they just might be messy. Enjoy!

Bars, Desserts, Recipes

Cranberry Crumb Bars

Tart, sweet cranberry crumb bars… they are amazingly delicious. What more can I say?

Tart, sweet cranberry crumb bars... they are amazingly delicious.

In the winter, my favorite flavor is cranberry. Between Halloween and Christmas, I buy up/hoard fresh cranberries in a ridiculous fashion–and then freeze a zillion bags for “emergencies.” Crazy, I know, but you DO NOT know when a cranberry craving will strike and have you ever had to look for cranberries in June? Impossible, I tell ya. And I’m sure I’ve told you that before. Ha! 🙂 I also like dried cranberries but fresh cranberries are much better for baking. And these Cranberry Crumb Bars are no exception!

These bar cookies are really really simple and definitely deserve a spot on your Christmas cookie tray this year. They’re rich, buttery little treats with a pop of fresh cranberry and orange in every single delicious bite.

Tart, sweet cranberry crumb bars... they are amazingly delicious.

Over the years I’ve seen lotsa recipes for cranberry cookie bars/crumbles of various sorts but so many of them require you to use “leftover cranberry sauce.” Who ever heard of such a thing? I inhale cranberry sauce so there’s never any left, much less enough for BAKING. And I’m the simple baker type, most of the time. I don’t want to take the time to dirty up the food processor or a saucepan to MAKE cranberry sauce before making dessert. Even though Ben does 90% of the dishes in our house [I’m a lucky girl!], I can’t justify that nonsense. But even so, I didn’t know if a recipe like this would work. Reading over it, I was a bit skeptical. A crust recipe that has you blend in an egg [even in the topping] and not pre-cook it? Sounds weird. A filling with, literally, just fresh cranberries and flavorings and a tiny bit of liquid? Was I going to be wasting a bunch of ingredients?

Tart, sweet cranberry crumb bars... they are amazingly delicious.

[Spoiler alert: NOPE!] These bars are absolutely magical, wonderful, and amazing. The winter dessert of my dreams… no lie. I am so happy I tried them and seriously wouldn’t change a thing about them. The original recipe suggests maybe a drizzle of white chocolate on top, and while that might make them prettier, I think–for me–that extra sweetness would take away from the perfect pairing of tart + sweet + butter. But you do you, and I’ll do me, and we’ll do these Cranberry Crumb Bars together, okay? Enjoy! 🙂

one year ago: Crockpot Minestrone Soup
two years ago: Baked Fish Tacos with Cranberry Salsa
three years ago: Cranberry Orange Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup
four years ago: Baby Bella, Spinach, and Bacon Frittata
five years ago: Sweet Potato Soup

Cranberry Crumb Bars

  • Servings: 24
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from Bakerita


for the crust:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal or whole wheat flour
  • zest of half an orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 egg

for the filling

  • juice of 1/2 an orange [I just added a few tablespoons of orange juice]
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flours, orange zest, and cinnamon. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly — you can also use a food processor for this step.

Press half of the dough into the prepared pan, then mix up the filling.

In another medium bowl, combine orange juice, orange zest, cranberries, sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch. Stir until combined, then spread over crust. Evenly distribute remaining crust over cranberry mixture.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely in the refrigerator before cutting into squares. Store in the refrigerator. Leftovers freeze well. Enjoy!

Bars, Desserts, Recipes

#10DaysofTailgate: Pumpkin Bars

These frosted spiced pumpkin bars are always a hit!

Pumpkin Bars | #10DaysofTailgate

Welcome to Friday of #10DaysofTailgate! You made it! But wait–don’t go away after reading this. Be sure to enter our fabulous giveaway and learn more about our quest to share tons of tailgating recipes during the last ten days of September. We are more than halfway through, but we still have more yumminess headed your way. 🙂

#10DaysofTailgate Sponsors

The best recipes always come from moms and grandmas, right? Though this recipe for pumpkin bars isn’t my mom’s original recipe, she is the one who introduced me to them. These pumpkin bars are the pumpkin bars of your dreams, people! They are SO good and relatively easy. What makes these pumpkin bars utterly delicious is their texture, I think. I hate when recipes are called “bars” but they’re really a sheet cake. These bars aren’t cakey but they aren’t as fudgy as brownies either. They are moist, gooey, buttery, and oh so indulgent! Healthy they are not, so if you’re searching for that, sorry but you’re outta luck. 🙂 The creamy frosting on top is sweet but not over the top, and provides the perfect creamy topping to a sweet, pumpkin spiced bar.

Pumpkin Bars | #10DaysofTailgate

Though I’m sharing this recipe for a tailgating event, these bars would be equally at home at a bridal shower, potluck, or your Thanksgiving dinner table. Frosting always makes sweets look fancier, I think! They’re on the of the first pumpkin desserts I made in my Tennessee kitchen last fall and they’re one of my favorite fall desserts. I hope you like them as much as my family does!

three years ago: Honey Lime Fruit Salad
four years ago: Buttermilk Chocolate Bread

Pumpkin Bars

  • Servings: 24
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courtesy Patty Ronning as adapted by Paula Deen


for bars

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 – 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

for icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.

With an electric mixer [stand or otherwise], beat together eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until fluffy. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda. Gradually add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Mix on low until batter is smooth.

Bake for 30 minutes, then cool completely before frosting.

When ready to make frosting, beat cream cheese and butter together with a mixer until smooth. Slowly add the sugar, mixing on low until combined. Stir in vanilla, frost, and cut into bars.

Here’s what the rest of the crew brought to the table…
Diablo’d Cheesy Bacon-Onion Pinwheel Rolls by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Spiced Kofta with Carrot Karma Yogurt Dip by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Baked Potato Beer Dip by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Hot Caramelized Onion Dip by Eliot’s Eats
Dunkin Duck, Cheesy Bacon and Ranch Dip by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Honey Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Thai Chicken Skewers by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Bacon Cheeseburger Soup by From Gate to Plate
Grilled Parsley Potatoes by Curious Cuisiniere
Grilled Vegetables by Summer Scraps
Pumpkin Bars by The Pajama Chef
Bars, Desserts, Recipes

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies

These blondies have all of your favorite flavors: chocolate, peanut butter, and honey… and are healthy too! They’re a great gluten free and/or vegan dessert. 🙂

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option | thepajamachef

Growing up, my little sister Kathleen would always copy me. Drove me nuts! Whatever I had, she wanted. Clothes, friends, privileges, etc. Man. We’re five years apart, so in my world, this was totally awful. I considered her quite the little pest for many years… but she did too, so I guess we’re even. And let’s not even get into bathroom wars. Can any other sisters relate?! 🙂

Thankfully, today Kathleen and I aren’t antagonistic towards each other anymore, and Ben and I love to hang out with Kathleen and her husband Grant. Too bad we live five hours apart! Kathleen copied me a year or so ago and made her own food blog, Two Happy Bellies. For pretty much the first time ever [in older sister speak], this copying benefited me as I could finally see all her yummy recipes in one place! Before, she’d just email/Facebook/instagram/pin them to me. Now it’s my turn to copy her with these delicious blondies!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option | thepajamachef

These blondies are the closest thing to a healthy dessert  you can have without it being fruit or something else super natural [read: WEIRD]. There’s no flour, white sugar, oil, or butter in them… they’re gluten free, and can be made vegan in a snap. The chickpea base may weird some people out, but if you don’t tell ’em, they probably won’t even know. #totallyserious These blondies are completely delicious though, and are so simple to make that they’re sure to become part of your regular rotation. Enjoy y’all!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option | thepajamachef
P.S. I just realized that my sister is the ultimate copycat… she copies me, and her nickname is Kat. Get it?!?? CopyKat! Lol I crack myself up. I should go now. 🙂 Love ya booboo!

one year ago: Eggplant Potato Frittata 
two years ago: Baked Flounder
three years ago: Brown Sugar Fruit Dip

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option

  • Servings: 16
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from Two Happy Bellies

  • 1 can [15 oz] garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter [or other nut butter]
  • 1/3 cup honey [or pure maple syrup or agave nectar for vegan option]
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate bar, chopped or broken into chunks OR 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp chocolate chips [regular or vegan]
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray or shortening and line with parchment paper.
Using a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except chocolate and blend until smooth. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then top with chocolate, pressing in to incorporate.
Bake for 15-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean AND edges are just beginning to brown. My sister took hers out at 18 minutes and I did at about 20. They might look underdone but they will firm up as they cool.
Cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Keep refrigerated.
Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.