One of the best and prettiest holiday cookies around is this Christmas cream cheese chocolate cookie bars recipe. The tender cream cheese dough and the triple chocolate flavors make this a crave-able combination. Chocolate chips and red & green M&M candies ensure every chocolate lover has a very merry Christmas with these home-baked cookies.
These cookies are easy to make like most bar cookies. Plus they are so festive as once you cut them and display them, they are in the shape of a Christmas wreath. There is the best cookie bar recipe to make for Christmas and other holidays too. They are also not overly sweet cookies so a nice balance compared to all the other Xmas sugar cookies, candies, & treats.
Christmas cookies are more than just a "thing" families bake and eat each holiday season. For many, they are a serious part of Christmas. Whether you have a cookie exchange at work, enter cookie competitions, or just like to bake and hand them out to the neighbors (as I do - my neighbors are soooo lucky!), this easy but wonderful Christmas cookie will be part of your holiday line up year after year. If you love colorful Christmas cookies you may also love Soft Italian Ricotta Cookies with a yummy glaze and sprinkles.
The Story Behind this Christmas Cookie
Last year I made some homemade shortbread cookies which called for the dough to be set in a tart pan, baked, and sliced into wedges. Just a few weeks later it was time to make the Christmas M&M bar cookies I make every year and I thought, why not make them a little bit more fancy looking and get them into the tart pan? The crinkled edges of the wedges are more eye-pleasing than the big chunky cookie bars.
Do not get me wrong, some things just call for a huge hunk of a cookie bar. But since I traditionally make at least half a dozen holiday sweets each year, smaller more fancy items would make the Christmas plate of desserts all that more spectacular.
Why is this Christmas Cookie a Must Bake?
- Simple Recipe - mix, get in the pan, bake, and slice
- Bakes Fast - only 15 minutes in the oven, so you can get other things baking too
- Beautiful Christmas Colors - red, white, and green
- Fancy Shapes - the crinkled edge and the wedges are not your typical cookie shape
- Cornstarch & Cream Cheese Dough - these two together results in a tender dough
- Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate - need I say more?
- Sea salt flakes - add so much flavor and make this feel a bit more sophisticated
BONUS - this bar cookie is can be made for almost any holiday. Just switch out the M&M colors. The pastel colors for Easter are so cute in this easy cookie recipe. My kids love all green for St. Patrick's day too. You can also use all pink or blue for a baby reveal cookie party! There a no limits on how you can create with this easy cookie bar recipe to decorate for any party, event, or holiday.
Ingredients for Christmas Bar Cookies
The cookie bars are full of chocolate so you will need white chocolate chips, mini semisweet chocolate chips, and green/red m&m candies. The rest of the ingredients are your typical pantry items that go into most cookies. The cornstarch is important since it ensures these Christma cookies are soft. Three kinds of chocolate in these bar cookies is what makes them more than yummy, triple yummy, and pretty too! If you buy cream cheese bulk at times, especially for all the holiday baking, that is a great idea. Also know that if you ever wondered CAN YOU FREEZE CREAM CHEESE, I have all you need to know on the blog.
How to Make These Amazing Christmas Cookie Bars
The beauty of bar cookies is how easy they are to make. There is no scooping and portioning the dough onto several rounds of trays in the oven over a long period of time. For this easy holiday cookie recipe, mix the ingredients, get it in the fun-shaped tart pan, cook, and then slice. During Christmas, a time-saving cookie recipe like this one is like your own present.
To start, in a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat softened butter and cream cheese in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined, add both sugars and beat until creamy.
Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture; just until it all comes together. Use a rubber spatula to incorporate any small pieces and fold in the mini chips and the white chocolate chips.
Prepare the Tart Pan
Spray a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan with nonstick spray and press dough evenly into the pan. with your hands and a sprayed offset spatula. Once smooth and even thick all around, top with remaining white chocolate chips and m&m candies. Gently press into the dough; cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
How Long to Bake Christmas Cookie
For these M&M bar cookies, you will cook them all in one batch in the tart pan. Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about 15 minutes. The toothpick will not be 100% clean like a cake would be and the cookie will continue to cook a bit in the pan once removed from the oven.
Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes. Press the bottom insert of the tart pan up to release the cookie and slide it onto a plate or cutting board.
Wreath-Shaped Christmas Cookies
It is easy to get the festive and distinctive wreathe shape for these cookies. By baking this recipe in the tart pan the edges are scalloped and the shape is round. Once cool, simply slice it into 12 equal wedges.
Check out these gorgeous slices of Christmas Cream Cheese Chocolate Cookie Bars. The red & green M&M candies and the white chocolate chips almost look like lights and decorations on your cookie wreath and they are almost too pretty to eat. But dig in, they are soft, chewy, and chocolatey for the best Christmas dessert.
How to Store Christmas Cookies
If you are like me and do a lot of baking at Christmas, you may want to bake cookies ahead of time. Some love to bake and freeze them months in advance. Then when the holidays roll around they defrost them and have wonderful cookies ready for any gathering.
These M&M bar cookies store well. If you bake them a few days before handing out cookie trays or a party, they will be great for up to 3 days. Store them in an air-tight container in your pantry or a cool dry location.
Can You Freeze Christmas Cookies
These Christmas cookies can also be frozen. They freeze well if stored in an air-tight container or Ziploc bag. The baked and sliced cookies can be frozen for up to 2 months. When ready to enjoy, place them in the refrigerator for 2 days and they will then be defrosted. So go ahead and bake these cookies ahead of time and enjoy them later for Christmas Eve or Day.
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Christmas Cream Cheese Chocolate Cookie Bars
- tart pan
- 1 & ⅔ C all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoon salted butter softened at room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese softened at room temperature
- ⅓ C granulated white sugar
- ½ C brown sugar packed
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ C mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ C white chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon white chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoon red & green M&Ms candies
- ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt optional
- Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat softened butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined, add both sugars and beat until creamy.
- Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture just until it all comes together.
- Use a rubber spatula to fold in mini chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.
- Spray a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan with nonstick spray and press dough evenly into the pan with your hands and a sprayed offset spatula.
- Once smooth and even thickness all around, top with remaining white chocolate chips and m&m candies. Gently press them into the dough. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about 15 minutes. The toothpick will not be 100% clean like a cake would be and the cookie will continue to cook a bit in the pan once removed from the oven.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes. Press the bottom insert of the tart pan up to release the cookie and slide it onto a plate or cutting board.
- Slice into 12 equal wedges.
- The cookies can be stored on a plate wrapped in foil or another air-tight container for up to 2 days.
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