Have you ever wondered how those insanely popular pinned recipes on Pinterest actually taste? Us too, which is why we’ve started a new series, Pin to Plate. We’re interviewing the blogger, testing out those recipes in-house, photographing our results, and sharing our experience. #PinFails, you’ve become a thing of the past.

Christmas cookies don’t have to be iced to dazzle. Case in point: these M&M’s chocolate chip cookie bars, which are the most pinned holiday cookie recipe on Pinterest with 364K shares. The gooey cookie bars contain all the traditional ingredients found in a chocolate chip cookie recipe but are studded with seasonal M&M’s and baked in a giant casserole dish before being cut into square bars. They sound oh-so-good and, as it turns out, they taste even better.

We have Melissa Mondragon of the No. 2 Pencil blog to thank for such an incredible recipe (pictured left). (If her name sounds familiar, it’s because she’s also responsible for the most pinned Instant Pot recipe too.) She tells us in an email, “Pinners generally love bar cookie recipes, and who doesn’t? They are easy and fun to make, and they serve a crowd for the holidays! Plus, this particular recipe is just really, really delicious! People make it over and over again.”

And it’s true: You will want to make them on repeat. We only made one adjustment to her recipe and added Peanut Butter M&M’s to ours (pictured right) — something we highly recommend if PB is your thing. We also found that the cookie bars may be done in as little as 30 minutes. In our case, after 35 minutes of baking, the exterior of the cookies appeared very brown, but once cooled and cut, they still had quite a soft core. You can make them “as festive as possible,” Mondragon says, by topping the bars with plenty of red and green M&M’s. Come the new year, swap out the colors depending on the holiday.

M&M’S Christmas Cookie Bars

(Serves 18-36)

Bake Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups of Christmas M&M’s, plus more for topping

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper, and leave some overhang to make removal easier.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until fluffy.

3. Add in eggs and vanilla extract and continue to beat.

4. Lower the speed of mixer and add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined.

5. Add chocolate chips and give a final stir, reserving M&M’s for topping cookie bars.

6. Transfer cookie dough to prepared baking dish.

7. Press additional M&M’S onto top of cookie dough.

8. Bake 35 to 40 minutes on an oven rack in lower third of oven to prevent over-browning.

9. Let cool completely and cut.

Make these and tag Brit + Co on Instagram.

(Recipe via No. 2 Pencil; Photos via No. 2 Pencil and Kurt Andre/Brit + Co)