For the cookie dough:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract (or just use additional vanilla extract)
  • 3 c (12 oz) Better Batter All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 /4 tsp salt
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 bag (approx 5 oz) mini M&M chocolate candies
For the frosting:


Preheat and prepare the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray your pan with nonstick cooking spray. You could also cut some strips of parchment paper to line your 9x13 pan, leaving an overhang for handles, which will make getting the bar cookies out a snap. Or spray well and use a spatula after they are cooled. Set prepared pan aside. Make the cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and extracts, beat well to incorporate, about 1 minute. Slowly add in the dry ingredients (flour, vanilla pudding, baking powder, and salt) and mix well to combine. The batter will be stiff. Add in the M&M candies and stir by hand to incorporate. Spread the dough and bake. Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan using your hands. Be sure to spread the dough into the corners and all the way to the edges. Bake for 20-30 minutes (mine was ready at 25 minutes) or when the top of the cookie bars are light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Prepare the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the softened butter and powdered sugar until combined. Add the extracts and beat well. Slowly add 1-2 tsp of milk at a time to thin the frosting to your desired consistency. A thicker frosting is easier to spread. Top the cooled cookie bars with the frosting using an offset spatula, adding extra chocolate candies, sprinkles, or leave plain. Cut into 16+ bars. It's best to refrigerate these cookies if you have frosted them, wrapped well, if you are not serving them immediately. Double it! This recipe can easily be doubled to serve a crowd - just make in a half sheet pan instead of a 9x13 pan. The baking time should be the same.