If you want extra presents under the tree this year, leave a couple of these Santa’s Peanut Butter Squares with a tall glass of milk on the mantle this Christmas Eve! Loaded with sprinkles, M&Ms, white chocolate chips, peanut butter, and more, who wouldn’t want to sink their teeth into this festive treat!?
I love cookies that are prepared in a baking pan like a regular square or bar recipe. This one is prepared in a 9×13-inch pan, which keeps the dough from spreading out, which means one thing – thick squares! I’ve prepared squares on a baking sheet before, but this time, I wanted them to be thick. Besides, Dear Reader, thick cookie dough is necessary in the case of Santa’s Peanut Butter Squares so that all of the goodies I mentioned before can fit!
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For those of you who love chewy cookies, and for those of you who prefer a crispy cookie, this recipe provides both of you with your favourite cookies from the same batch. When baked, the edge of the cookies which are pressed against the baking pan becomes a little crispy. The inner squares, however, are chewy and super moist.
Let’s jump right into what you will need to make these squares, but first, let’s just talk about these bars and squares series. Today is the twelfth and final recipe in Lord Byron’s 12 Bars and Squares of Christmas series. I’d like to say that I saved the best for last, but that’s not the case at all. I tested so many recipes, but these 12 are the ones that made the cut. They were the easiest and most delicious. Do you have a favourite? If so, scroll down to the comments and let me know!
LORD BYRON’S 12 BARS AND SQUARES OF CHRISTMAS
Santa’s Peanut Butter Squares are the final holiday confection in my new series! Yes, that’s right, Dear Reader! Lord Byron’s 12 Bars and Squares of Christmas is officially coming to a close. Every time I start to plan a new series of back-to-back recipes, I feel like I’m biting off more than I can chew. But, I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge. In fact, I love a challenge!
For 12 consecutive days, I shared a holiday-based bar or square recipe – yes, even on Saturday and Sunday too! And, here we are on the last day! So, which recipes in this series have you made? Which recipes have you saved or printed for later? Have you added any of them to your holiday Pinterest board? I want to know which of the twelve you plan to make for your family or your guests!
Now, just like I promised back on October 17th when I published my first Christmas recipe this season, I’m not taking a break. I’m sharing two collection-type posts with you tomorrow and on Sunday, but on Monday, I’m back with Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas – Volume 5! Can you believe that? Volume freaking 5!!!! I can’t wait to get this new series started!
You really don’t want to miss one of those upcoming cooking recipes, so if you have not yet subscribed to Lord Byron’s Kitchen, I encourage you to do so. That way, a new recipe will be emailed to you every day. You won’t have to bother to come looking for it! Like in previous holiday baking countdowns, I like to mix up the recipes in the series so that there is something for everyone. Now, who’s ready for the last recipe in Lord Byron’s 12 Bars and Squares series? Are you ready for day 12!!??
Looking For More Christmas Confections?
Lord Byron’s Kitchen has more than enough to satisfy your sweet tooth! Click on the links below to see a countdown series of holiday recipes from that category!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO PREPARE THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Flour – No need for anything special. Just use regular all-purpose flour. I have not tried this recipe with any other type of flour.
- Oats – Use quick oats.
- Baking Soda – Activated by a liquid, it’s an acid to help with leavening or rising.
- Mini White Chocolate Chips – I use chocolate chips a lot in my recipes, and I change up the type depending on how I feel. Unless the recipe states otherwise, you can use milk, semi-sweet, or dark chips too.
- Sprinkles – Use your favourite festive sprinkles here.
- Sugar – Sugar will caramelize when baked, which will help to brown cookies and cakes. In cookies, the sugar will help the dough to spread and will create a crispness at the bottom of the cookie.
- Brown Sugar – For colour and flavour!
- Butter – Make sure your butter is at room temperature! Use salted butter. If you use unsalted butter, add a quarter teaspoon of salt.
- Peanut Butter – Use smooth peanut butter or the chunky kind with pieces of peanuts in it. I have not tested this recipe with natural peanut butter and to be frank, I don’t think natural peanut butter will work without some adjustments.
- Vanilla Extract – Probably the most common extract and the most common flavouring used in cakes and cookies.
- Eggs – You will need two large eggs, but will only use the yolk from one of them. When you set out to bake, ensure your eggs are at room temperature too – just like your butter!
CANDIES, CANDIES, AND MORE CANDIES!
I know I use M&Ms quite often in many of my cookie and no-bake treats, but there are other candy-coated chocolates out there that you can use. Here in Canada, we have something called Smarties. I think in the United States, smarties are those flat, pressed-powder-like candy that comes in a cellophane-wrapped roll. They’re often found in large bags for Halloween treats. In Canada, smarties are candy-coated chocolate much like the popular M&M. For even more of my M&M recipes, click here!
LET’S TALK SPRINKLES!
Where do you buy sprinkles? Do you have a favourite vendor or brand? A few Christmases back, I changed my sprinkle game. I would always buy sprinkles from the baking supply section at Bulk Barn, but not anymore – no way! Let me tell you how this all went down.
In November 2018, I was baking a few Christmas goodies and just could not source sprinkles that looked anything like what I was imagining in my head. John.e was on a major sprinkle hunt. He used to work in close proximity to Michael’s, HomeSense, Winners, and Marshall’s. He purchased at least ten different sprinkle colours, shapes, and brands. But, I wasn’t impressed with any of them as much as I was with Sweetapolita.
After Christmas, I needed Valentine’s sprinkles, so I tracked down the brand and found their online store. I ordered enough sprinkles to last a lifetime! Shopping for sprinkles online might seem a little over the top, but I’ve never once pretended to shy away from getting what I want! For this recipe, you can use any Christmas-themed sprinkles. As you can see, I used the pressed sugar type along with some red, green, and white jimmies.
LET’S TALK PEANUT BUTTER!
Before you are tempted to send me an email or a comment knocking my choice for peanut butter that is not natural and organic, hear me out! This recipe will not work with natural peanut butter. I repeat, this recipe will not work with natural peanut butter. There, I said it. Now, if you go ahead and make this recipe using natural peanut butter and it comes out a big, wet mess, you cannot blame me.
John.e uses only natural peanut butter, but I do not. I do not like it at all. Yes, it’s healthier and better for me, but I’d rather not eat it at all if I have to choose the natural stuff. I grew up on Kraft or Jiffy peanut butter and it’s the only peanut butter I ever use.
For these squares, you have the choice of smooth peanut butter or crunchy. But, you do not have a choice between all-natural and sugar-laden, mass-produced stuff. The squares will not hold together properly and it will be almost impossible to slice nice, neat squares. Mostly, it certainly will not taste right. If you are completely against using non-natural peanut butter, as harsh as it may sound, this recipe is most certainly not for you.
Lord Byron’s Annual Christmas Cookie Series
Did you know that Lord Byron’s Kitchen has been sharing a 24 Cookies of Christmas Series for the past several years? Click on the links below to see all of the recipes from each series on one page!
HOW TO MAKE SANTA’S PEANUT BUTTER SQUARES
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper so that it fits snugly in the pan. I use two sheets – one folded to fit the length of the pan and another folded to fit across the pan. Allow the excess parchment paper to hang out over the side of the pan. Coat the parchment paper with a thin layer of non-stick cooking spray. Once the confection is firm, use the excess parchment to lift the whole block out of the pan to make it easy to cut into squares.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, a whole large egg, and one large egg yolk to the butter mixture. Beat to combine. Finally, add the flour, baking soda, and quick oats. If you used unsalted butter at the beginning of the recipe, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt here too. Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well mixed.
Measure the mini white chocolate chips, 3/4 cup of the M&Ms, and half of the sprinkles into the cookie dough. Stir well to combine. Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking pan and press it into the pan, being sure to get into the corners. Top the dough with the remaining M&Ms and sprinkles. Bake for 15 minutes or until the squares are lightly browned on the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes before attempting to slice it into squares.
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
These Santa’s Peanut Butter Squares will stay fresh for about 3-5 days in a covered container and in a cool place. But, if you plan to freeze these squares, use a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight-fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that freshness locked in!
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Santa’s Peanut Butter Squares
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup quick cook oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup mini white chocolate chips
- 1 cup holiday m&ms
- 2 tablespoons holiday sprinkles
- Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper so that it fits snugly in the pan. I use two sheets – one folded to fit the length of the pan and another folded to fit across the pan. Allow the excess parchment paper to hang out over the side of the pan. Coat the parchment paper with a thin layer of non-stick cooking spray. Once the confection is firm, use the excess parchment to lift the whole block out of the pan to make it easy to cut into squares.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla, a whole large egg, and one large egg yolk to the butter mixture. Beat to combine.
- Finally, add the flour, baking soda, and quick oats. If you used unsalted butter at the beginning of the recipe, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt here too. Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well mixed.
- Measure the mini white chocolate chips, 3/4 cup of the M&Ms, and half of the sprinkles into the cookie dough. Stir well to combine.
- Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking pan and press it into the pan, being sure to get into the corners.
- Top the dough with the remaining M&Ms and sprinkles.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the squares are lightly browned on the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes before attempting to slice it into squares.
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