Fast, simple, and easy – just the way Christmas baking should be! Sheet Pan M&M Chocolate Holiday Bars are festive, fun, and family-friendly!
It’s Day 21 of Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas, and just like I promised, Dear Reader, the recipes are going to be getting easier and easier. After all, as Christmas Day approaches, it seems like we have less and less time to do all of the things we want in order to prepare for the big day.
I don’t know about you, but in our home, sweets and treats that are Christmas themed are vitally important to a happy and festive holiday. We all love to have a big selection of cookies to choose from. We love to package up goody bags and take them to our neighbours. And, of course, there’s always a large platter of cookies, squares, and balls on the coffee table for our annual Christmas Eve movie marathon!
Do you and your family have any Christmas Eve traditions? We have a few traditions that we stick too. They are tried and true and it just wouldn’t be Christmas without them. First, there’s the Christmas Eve movie marathon. Every single Christmas Eve – well, at least since the release of Elf – we watch the Elf movie and pig out on take our pizza or Chinese, followed by homemade cookies, squares, and balls.
The Elf movie is a must and is usually the first one we watch. The second movie must be a Christmas classic. We have a collection that we bring out every year, and every year, we add another movie or two to the collection. Those are movies like It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol, etc.
And, every Christmas season, we try to get our fill of Christmas horror movies as well. Why? Well, McKenna and I absolutely love horror movies. John.e is not a huge fan, but he’s come a long way in the past few years and will sit and watch with us. Do you watch Christmas horror movies?
Another Christmas tradition for us is our annual Christmas Eve matching pajamas. This is something my ex-wife had started way back when McKenna was just a toddler. John.e and I have continued the tradition and the past three or four years, rather than buy Christmas t-shirts at Old Navy, John.e will design them.
Once he’s finished with the design, we’ll upload the design to Vista Print and get our personalized Christmas Eve t-shirts for five or six bucks each. I’ll wait until the Black Friday sales and Old Navy and run out and buy us all matching pajama pants to be worn with the t-shirts.
If you look back at our Annual Christmas Posts, you see the t-shirts John.e has designed for the past few years. In true John.e fashion, rather than settle on just one design, he’ll usually manufacture one design and then personalize it so that each of us – him, McKenna, me, and sometimes, my dad – has our very own one of a kind Christmas Eve t-shirt.
Let’s see – what else is there? Oh, yes! Our annual pickle hunt to determine who’s going to open the first present. Just before we start watching movies, we play our annual Find the Dill Pickle game. If you’ve never heard the tale of hanging a dill pickle ornament on your tree, then it’s something you simply must do – especially if you have kids!
Hanging a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree is said to be an old German tradition; the lucky person who first spots the green ornament hidden deep within the branches of the tree can open a present on Christmas Eve. However, plenty of doubters, many of them German, say there is no basis for this legend, and at least two additional Christmas pickle ornament stories are floating in the brine of myth and speculation.
One tells the story of a Bavarian soldier whose dying wish is for a pickle, which saves his life. The other recounts a tale of two boys trapped in a pickle barrel. Either way, whomever the excited winner ends up being, he or she can pick any one present under the tree and open it on Christmas Eve night.
So, Dear Reader, tell me about your traditions. Do you have friends and family visit on Christmas Eve? Or do you lock yourselves away from the world like we do and enjoy each other’s company?
This concludes Day 21. Tomorrow, I’m going to show you how to make a different type of cookie that’s very simple and very chocolaty. Break out your sprinkles! In the meantime, please take a peek at the other recipes previously posted in my 24 Cookies of Christmas series. Just click on the name of the cookie below that you wish to see!
Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas
- Jumbo Marshmallow Balls
- Christmas Peanut Butter Rosettes
- Holiday Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Cookies
- Crispy Chocolate Cookie Cutter Cookies
- Newfoundland Five Star Cookie Bars
- Queen Anne Squares
- Old Fashioned Christmas Cherry Cookies
- Chocolate Coconut Balls
- Rocky Road Fudge Squares
- Chocolate Orange Cookies
- Homemade Newfoundland Jam Jams
- Star Anise Cookies
- Nutella Holiday Truffles
- Traditional Christmas Linzer Cookies
- Russian Christmas Tea Cakes
- Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
- Irish Ginger Cookies
- Iced Gingerbread Bars
- Chocolate Toffee Candy
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Sheet Pan M&M Chocolate Holiday Bars
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 2 cups M&Ms candy
- 1/4 cup Christmas-themed candy sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In large bowl, use a hand-held mixer to beat together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes.
- Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Beat until just combined.
- Add 1 cup of the chocolate chips and 1 cup of the M&Ms. Stir into the cookie batter using a wooden spoon.
- Spread the cookie dough as evenly as possible onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Don't get too worried about the dough being even. It will expand and fill in the gaps during the baking process.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle over the remaining chocolate chips and M&Ms, along with the candy sprinkles. Return to over and bake for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from oven. Allow to cool, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Carefully slide the giant cookie off of the sheet pan and onto a cooling rack to continue cooling.
- Once completely cooled, slice into large bars.
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