M&M Cookie Bars (and a P2 Missions update!)

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Three weeks ago, I was in Arizona for P2 Missions. Aaaanddd…I miss it already– the kids, the program, the company, the serving, and the list goes on and on. And it’s only been three weeks! It’s always hard for me to leave Arizona. This was my third trip, but each trip is significant in its own way. I always learn something new, and I always get to serve with new people and work in a different capacity. But one thing remains the same: I serve a great and gracious God! That is something to be thankful for.

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I made these cookie bars as thank you goodies to our Youth pastors, Mat and Eugene. It wasn’t much, but it was just my way of saying THANKS!–Thanks for shepherding the flock, for planning every aspect of the missions trip, for being patient with us, and for being our pastor. Anyways, I stumbled across the mini M&Ms while at Winco, and I think I may have put too much in the batter, but whatever. My cookie bars turned out to be 70% M&Ms, but who’s complaining? They were super chewy; I love cookies that use an extra egg yolk! They weren’t too sweet or greasy, and I’d definitely make them again. They’re perfect for your summer roadtrips because the M&Ms won’t melt all over the place because of the candy coating. I love the mini M&Ms! They just make everything 10x more fun =). Sigh, I’m such a kid. Oh well ; )

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M&M Cookie Bars
Makes one 9×13 pan
From Lovin’ From the Oven

Ingredients:

2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 12 oz bag mini M&Ms, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Line a 9×13 inch pan with foil, with the foil hanging over the sides.

2. Mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until combined. Stir in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour, salt, and baking soda into the wet mixture until combined.

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3. Stir in 1 cup of mini M&Ms. Spread the batter into the lined pan, and smooth out the top either with the spatula or clean damp hands. Sprinkle the rest of the M&Ms on top and press in slightly.

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4. Bake until the bars are light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 25-30 minutes. Let them cool before cutting into bars.

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When people ask me how my trip was, it’s easy for me to just say “good.” But it was definitely more than that, because everything in my life is always good because God is good. I made a video just for my own personal memory box (and also because I was babysitting and had no wi-fi and nothing to do while the baby was napping), and I’m going to share it here with you all too. It’s not much, but I think it captures a good chunk of the things we did while on our missions trip. Enjoy!

P2 Missions 2013 from graceko on Vimeo.

Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy Reading, eating, and baking!!

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Toasted S’more Cookie Bars

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I have news!!

I’ll be going on a short term missions trip to Arizona this summer for a week! It’ll be through a ministry called P2 Missions from the North American Mission Board. Our church will be partnering with a church plant there and hosting a basketball and bible lessons camp to outreach to the kids in the community.

I’ve been to P2 Missions (formerly called PowerPlant) twice as a high schooler, but this time I’ll be going as a counselor! It’s a little weird, partially because I feel like a baby compared to all the other counselors (I’m the youngest!), but I’m pretty excited to see what God has in store for me and the team. It’ll be fun getting to know the other students on the trip, and it’ll definitely be a new experience for me! It’s been two years since I’ve been at PowerPlant, and both trips I’ve gone to have been a huge blessing and learning experience. God is good!

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Like my pastor mentioned to us (Hi Mat!), on missions trip we can get so consumed with the “doing” that we forget another crucial aspect of the trip: prayer. We’re so busy preparing ourselves with things we have to do that we forget to pray. We need to pray not only because we are called to, but also because by praying, we are entrusting the fruits of the missions trip to God, understanding that under all circumstances, God is in control and is sovereign. So with that said, please pray for us!

  • For God’s name to be glorified above all (Ephesians 3:21)
  • For our team to be able to boldly and clearly articulate the Gospel (Colossians 4:3-4)
  • For our team to have strength and team unity as we serve and fellowship
  • For softened hearts and opportunities to share the Gospel
  • For our team to have willing and faithful hearts to serve

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The reason why I mention this is because I wanted to make something for the students at our Friday night meetings. I wanted something that could make enough for a group of 25, and something that wouldn’t take up too many resources. My apartment has a bunch of graham crackers and marshmallows leftover from a beach trip, so I typed in smores bar into foodgawker and came across these. And I am SOOO glad I did.

My favorite part of a s’more is the toasty marshmallow. This cookie bar has toasted marshmallows baked right into it, and it’s soo good. It comes together rather quickly, and it’s packed with chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers, and more marshmallows. The cookie dough base was soft and chewy, and the toasted marshmallows in the dough were the cherry on top. Genius, I say! This is definitely a keeper. I really don’t repeat recipes often, but this one will definitely be repeated in the future. Chocolate chip cookies and s’mores in a bar–what’s not to like?!

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Toasted S’more Cookie Bars
Makes one 9×13 pan
From Carla’s Confections

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
15 large marshmallows, divided
7 graham cracker rectangles, divided
12 oz chocolate chunks (I used chips), reserve 1/4 cup for melting
1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper (for toasting the marshmallows), and line a 9×13 cookie/jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.

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Place 10 of the 15 marshmallows on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the marshmallows start to puff up and get golden brown. I really like marshmallows so I saved about 12 for the dough and one or two for myself =). Be careful when the marshmallows are in the oven–they might burn on the bottom.

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Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. In another bowl, combine the flour and baking soda; slowly add to the butter mixture. Mix to combine.

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In a ziploc bag, break the graham crackers into small chunks (not crumbs). When the marshmallows are toasted, scrape them into the dough and mix to combine (I found it easier to peel off when the marshmallows cooled for a minute or so). Add the chocolate chips, minus the 1/4 cup reserved, and the graham crackers.

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Press the dough into the sprayed foil pan, and press down to evenly spread out in the pan. I found it easier to press the dough into the pan with wet fingers. Sprinkle the remaining graham cracker pieces (I forgot this until toward the end). Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Add the remaining marshmallows on top of the batter, and bake for another 5-10 minutes until golden brown and the marshmallows toasted. Let cool on counter.

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Meanwhile, melt the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate with the oil in 30 second intervals (stirring after each interval) until melted. Drizzle over the top of the cookie bars. Let is set, then cut into bars and enjoy!

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Before!

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After! Just kidding. Not done until the chocolate’s on top.

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There ya go. Done!

Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

P.S. I’ve been wondering why my pictures have been so grainy recently. Turns out shooting with a high ISO = grainy pictures. Whoops! I’m learning as I go, I promise! =)