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Peanut Sitting-Pretties Bar Cookies

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1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped salted peanuts
3/4 cup butter, softened
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 5 tablespoons light cream
2 cups M&M candies
2 cups peanut M&M candies

Peanut Sitting-Pretties Bar Cookies

An old family favorite cookie recipe is transformed into a bar cookie to make it much easier.

  • Serves 24
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Thinking about your Easter menu? Try this delicious and pretty recipe for Peanut Sitting-Pretties Bar Cookies. Isn’t it cute?

Peanut Sitting-Pretties is an old family recipe that we have been making for decades. It’s a tender brown sugar shortbread thumbprint cookie that is topped with frosting and peanut M&Ms. It’s a fabulous cookie, but pretty time-consuming and fussy to make.

So I thought – why not turn it into a bar cookie? This cuts about 2 hours off of the preparation time and the results are spectacular. And I think it’s better, since the bar cookie is more tender than the shaped cookie because it requires less handling.

This Peanut Sitting-Pretties Bar Cookie is ideal for both Easter and Christmas because you can use those cute seasonal M&M candies; pastel for Easter and red and green for Christmas.

Enjoy this wonderful bar cookie recipe with a cup of coffee or a glass of icy cold milk.

Tips for the best Peanut Sitting-Pretties Bar Cookies:

  • Read my secret way to make the best cookies and cakes to make any baking recipe better.
  • Let the cookie cool completely before you frost it.
  • Take the time to beat the frosting for at least a few minutes to help the powdered sugar dissolve. Yes, even powdered sugar needs to dissolve.

Why this recipe works:

  • Bar cookies are so much easier to make than shaped cookies. Just press the dough into the pan and bake. You can transform just about any cookie recipe into a bar cookie.
  • This bar cookie is very soft, because there’s a lot of fat in the dough. That makes the cookie rich and tender. The peanuts that are placed in the pan before the dough is added add some structure to the dough along with crunch.
  • Peanuts in the dough and peanut candies on top add lots of flavor and texture.

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup butter and brown sugar and beat until fluffy.


Add the egg yolks and 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until combined.


Then add the flour and salt and beat just until mixed.


Spray a 9" x 13" baking pan with nonstick baking spray containing flour. Evenly distribute the peanuts in the pan.


Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls onto the peanuts in the pan. Press down evenly, using floured fingers.


Bake for 18 to 23 minutes or until the bars are set and light golden brown. Cool completely.


In a large bowl, beat 3/4 cup butter with 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar and the light cream, beating well after each addition, until the frosting is fluffy. This should be a firm frosting, not soft.


Spread the frosting over the bars and top with both kinds of M&M candies. Cut into squares to serve.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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