Valentine M&M Bars and Conversation Heart Brownies…Holiday Food Series

 Valentine M&M Bars and Conversation Heart Brownies

Well, Pinterest does it again! I have found the cutest little desserts for Valentine’s Day and I just can’t help myself and have been making all of them (as you can tell by my recent posts). I would like to say, that for me, the fun is in the making of the treats, not so much of the eating of the treats. I save some for my family but give most of it away. It’s enjoyable to give baked treats to people, but also I’m a big believer in indulging in sweets, just not too much. So, although I have been posting a lot of treats lately, there is a lot of veggie eating that goes on in my household too. Veggies with every meal and that includes breakfast. We like are veggies around here!!!

The Valentine M&M Bars and the Conversation Heart Brownies were so easy to make and are great for a Valentine’s Day party, school gathering, in your kids lunch boxes, or to give to your honey. My family is really enjoying all the festive ways I’ve been preparing for Valentine’s Day, in fact we’ve been celebrating Valentine’s Day for a few weeks over here, but hey, celebrating LOVE is not such a bad idea, right?!

Here’s what you need to do to make these treats…

Valentine M&M Bars

photo copy 2I used the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that is on the back of the chocolate chip bag. This is the recipe I’ve always made and the one my Mom always made. It’s a good one!

photoJust got this pink Kitchen Aid mixer for my birthday last year and am wondering how I’ve gone without one for so long. I LOVE it!!! I always whip up a double batch when I make cookies. You can freeze half the dough, or in this case I made the bars and and some cookies.

photo 1On the back of the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip bag, you will find a cookie recipe and a Pan Cookie variation. I used the Pan Cookie variation. This was so simple. Just spray the baking pan with baking spray and spread the batter cover the entire bottom of the pan.

photo 3I sprinkled the Valentine M&M’s evenly over the entire batter and baked according to directions.

photo 3 copyWait for them to cool completely and then run a knife around the edges to loosen. Carefully remove from pan onto a cutting board and cut into bars.

This was so easy and much faster than making cookies. I had never done this before and was very pleased with the final product. The family really loved them too!

photo 2 copy

And since it is National Polka Dot Day. I thought my new plate from Marshalls was the perfect way to display this fun Valentine Day bars.

photo 5More finished bars…

photo 3 copy 2Part of the fun for me, is photographing the finished product. Food can be so beautiful!

photo 4 copy 2Here’s the recipe…

Valentine M&M Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter softened*
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12 oz.pkg) M&M’s (or desired amount)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. spread into prepared pan, sprinkle with M&M’s.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown*. Cool in pan on wire rack.

*I use Crisco shortening bars the original flavor not the butter flavor. My family has always used this instead of butter and I think it gives the bars/cookies a better flavor.

*I cooked them a bit less and they came out perfect.

Conversation Heart Brownies

These are so sweet. Conversation Hearts remind me of Elementary School. When I was a child you got Valentine’s cards and that was it. No candy, no extras, and you know what…we were thrilled. I’m the first to admit that my kids generation has been seriously overindulged. My girls always got Valentines and candy and well, all kinds of stuff from their classmates, but in my day a sweet little Valentine card that your classmate signed and gave to you was just great! So if we got a box of Conversation Hearts from our parents we thought that was the BEST!!! I love that they still come in the individual boxes like when I was a kid. I would go through the whole box and read each one. This recipe really brought back the memories. Conversation Hearts are the epitome of Valentine’s Day. Hope you give this easy recipe a try.

photo 4 copyHere’s how to make Conversation Heart Brownies…

photo 1Use your favorite boxed Brownie Mix or homemade brownies. I absolutely love this Ghiradelli Brownie Mix. Honestly I think they are just as good as homemade. I especially love the Double Chocolate, very decadent!

photo 2Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with baking spray and pour prepared brownie mix in evenly. Decorate with Conversation Hearts. I lined mine up but it’s equally as cute put on willy-nilly.

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5Bake as directed. I always bake my brownies at least 4 minutes less then the least amount of time indicated. Here are mine fresh out of the oven

Let the brownies cool completely before cutting. Use a knife to cut around edges and then carefully remove and place on a cutting board.

photo 5 copy

photo 4 copy

photo 3 copy 2

Hope you enjoyed today’s post. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but there are lots of great ideas on Avenue of Joy to help you make it really special for your loved ones. For other Valentine’s Day ideas look under my food section under holiday food series here.

All the best,

Joy

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