Milky Way Chocolate Cookie Crumble Bars
I was so in love with the bars I made two weeks ago and couldn’t get them out of my mind. So I made them again.
Chocolate style with Milky Ways instead of peanut butter cups. And I’m in love all over again.
Sometimes I go through dessert phases where all I want is cookies. And for weeks, I make batch after batch of cookies.
Right now I’m in a gooey bar phase. I’m loving this phase.
I just couldn’t get those Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars out of my head.
Soft and squishy centers with chewy edges. Dense, buttery, and full of gooey creaminess from the sweetened condensed milk. Not to mention, mini peanut butter cups in every bite.
Rather than remaking the exact same thing, although I was tempted but that doesn’t make for an interesting blog, I made chocolate cookie dough and baked in Milky Ways. If there’s a way to improve on something, adding chocolate is always good start.
Now I have two new favorite bars. I can’t pick which one I like better because they’re both ridiculously good.
Prep and assembly takes 10 minutes, no mixer is needed, and you can stir everything together in one bowl. The less dishes a recipe generates, the better.
Begin by melting one stick of butter. Stir in an egg, sugars, optional splash of coffee, vanilla, flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. The coffee brings out the chocolate flavor and it’s recommended. It doesn’t make the finished bars taste at all like coffee.
Transfer the thick dough into an aluminum foil-lined and cooking sprayed baking pan and press it down to form the base layer. Reserve about two-thirds cup dough for crumbling on top later.
I urge you to line your pan, leaving overhang, so you can just lift the bars out, and it makes cleanup a breeze. The sweetened condensed milk caramelizes, the Milky Ways melt, and without foil you’ll be cursing as you try to chisel glued-on bars out of the pan.
Sprinkle diced Milky Ways over the dough, or use another favorite candy such as Rolos, Snickers, Three Musketeers, or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Then lightly crumble the reserved cookie dough in chunks before baking.
Pour just over half of one can of sweetened condensed milk over the top.
Use the other half to make 7-Minute Microwave Caramels or Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels. You can make them in the microwave while the bars bake in the oven, and your house will smell like a bakery with caramels in the microwave and chocolate baking in the oven.
The hardest part of the recipe is that you must let the bars set up for about 3 hours before slicing or you’ll have a hot mess. Let them cool on the counter for an hour, then place the pan in the fridge for at least two hours, or overnight. Lift out with the foil overhang and slice, making clean, pretty squares.
Alternatively, just dig in with spoons as soon as they’re cool enough from the oven if you don’t care about clean and neat squares. Your stomach doesn’t care if the bars were neat or not as you shoveled them down.
The chocolate cookie portion is brownie-like in texture and taste, especially the centers. Rich, dense and fudgy.
The edges are chewier and denser and more like chewy-cookie edges. The perfect balance of soft and chewy.
The Milky Ways provide texture and another dimension of chocolate flavor. Between the nougat in them, and the creamy, rich, sweetened condensed milk that thickens while baking, I was in gooey nougat heaven.
Supremely rich, intense, bold, dark, and perfect for impromptu chocolate cravings. So many layers of textures and flavors, all in one bite from chocolate to caramel to vanilla.
Layered bars are where it’s at. Definitely a new favorite.
Milky Way Chocolate Cookie Crumble Bars
A new favorite layered bar that’s a chocolate cookie dough base, topped with Milky Way bars, chocolate cookie dough crumbles, and drenched with creamy sweetened condensed milk. The chocolate cookie portion is brownie-like in texture and taste, especially the centers. Rich, dense, soft, and fudgy. The edges are chewier like a cookie, creating a balance of soft and chewy. So many layers of flavors and textures from caramel to vanilla to chocolate in each bite. Less than 10 minutes to make without a mixer.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee (leftover from the morning brew is fine), optional but highly recommended
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (I don’t sift)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 1 1/2 cups diced Milky Way Bars (or substitute with Snickers, Peanut Butter Cups Butterfinger, Heath, Rolos, 3 Musketeers)
- about 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (just slightly more than half of one standard 14-ounce can)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. Allow the butter to cool momentarily so you don’t scramble the egg. Add the egg, sugars, coffee (water may be substituted but coffee is highly recommended to bring out the chocolate flavor; the bars do not taste like coffee at all), vanilla, and stir or whisk vigorously to combine, about 1 minute.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, optional salt and stir until just incorporated. Dough will be quite thick and dense.
- Reserve about 2/3 cup dough; set aside. Turn remaining dough out into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. Evenly sprinkle the Milky Ways over the dough. Using your fingers, lightly crumble the reserved cookie dough over the top in irregular, marble-sized chunks. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top (just eyeball slightly over half of the can as you pour slowly).
- Bake for about 27 to 30 minutes, or until center is mostly set. The sweetened condensed milk should nearly be set in all places, but possibly a little loose in the very center of the pan is okay. Edges will be firm, raised, and darker than the interior. Bars firm up more in pan as they cool; don’t overbake because you want these to stay soft and gooey, and cocoa powder is prone to turning dry.
- Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 3 hours before slicing and serving (use foil overhang to lift out). I recommend cooling for 1 hour on the counter, and at least 2 hours in the refrigerator, or overnight. This ensures clean, pretty cut marks. If you don’t care about that, bars may be consumed as soon as they are cool enough to eat; grab a spoon and dig in. Extra bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Bars may be kept gluten-free by replacing the flour with your favorite gluten-free baking blend. Take care any ingredients used are suitable for your dietary needs.
Adapted from my Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars
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Do you like Milky Way bars? Making pans of bars?
For straight up eating, I don’t generally reach for Milky Ways, but they’re wonderful to bake with because of their soft, malleable, texture compared to harder and crunchier Butterfinger or Heath Bars.
Pans of bars are one of my favorite things to make. Fast, easy, and I can be as creative as I want and not have to worry about something rising too much or not enough or spreading. No dough to chill, roll, knead or worry about. Just slap it in a pan and bake.
Thanks for the entries in the 24 Hours of Peanuts Cookbook and Prize Pack Giveaway and the Bestowed Healthy Care Package Delivery Giveaway