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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint M&M Bars (Easy Things to Do with Cake Mix #4)

Better late than never! This is a Christmas recipe, three months late. Which means, in fact, that I am getting worse, because my Thanksgiving recipes were only two months late. Oh well.

Incidentally, I think I'm going to change the tagline of my blog to: "Good food...crappy pictures." Seriously. I have no sense of artistry. I snap my pics on my iPhone, in my garish kitchen light, on a messy counter, on a paper plate. If there are Seven Deadly Sins of Food Photography, I commit them all. Simultaneously.

But, don't let my lack of artistic flair deter you from making these bars, because they are super quick and yummy. And like Thanksgiving, with my new kiddo, quick and easy was the name of the game this year.

I didn't intend to make these bars. In fact, I was at a loss for what to make this year for Christmas. Normally, my mom and I make scads and scads of Christmas cookies, but this year, I knew it wouldn't happen. Frankly, I was an overwhelmed FTM, and I was lucky to make it to the shower every day, let alone coordinate the 15+ varieties (no exaggeration) of cookies and cake balls this year.

But then I saw these babies at Target:

White chocolate peppermint M&Ms. Apparently they were a Target exclusive. So I snatched up a bag for baking without a clear idea of what I wanted to do with them. But then I decided to make bars -- they're easier than cookies because it involves one pan and one trip to the oven. And for these bars, I wanted to try something a little different, so I used Devil's Food cake mix as the base. Super easy!

Just combine cake mix, oil, an egg and water in a bowl and mix to combine (by hand is fine, I used a wooden spoon).

Then, add the mix-in, which in this case was the entire bag of M&Ms:

Note: the oil makes the batter, well, oily. The M&Ms get coated with oil and almost fall out of the batter as you mix. Don't worry, it will bake up just fine.
Then, spread it in a pan, bake, cool, and cut!

I managed to have the entire thing done before my little helper woke up!

Color-coordinated with Mommy's baking!
My family loved these things, they were quite tasty, and the bar consistency was perfect. Huge return on taste for a minimal time investment -- just the way I like it! The beauty is, you can use the basic cake mix recipe for any combo of batter and mix-ins! Next year, I think I will try white cake mix with these M&Ms, which should look stunning, visually. I'm also going to try a flavor variation for Easter which, based on my current posting schedule, probably won't make it onto the blog until Halloween. Oh well. Happy baking!

Chocolate Peppermint M&M Bars


  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (Devil's Food, Chocolate Fudge, etc)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bag of white chocolate peppermint M&Ms (or mix-on of your choice)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Spray  9x13" pan with cooking spray (optional: line pan with aluminum foil before spraying, for easy lifting of bars from pan)
  3. Combine cake mix, egg, oil and water in bowl and mix well
  4. Add mix-ins
  5. Spread evenly in pan (you may have to press down a little to spread evenly) and bake for 20-25 minutes
  6. Cool and cut

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