These candy loaded oatmeal cookie bars are a favorite around our house! Our candy loaded cookie bars are super quick, just mix and dump into a pan, and bake! They’re super versatile and always turn out perfectly! I find myself making these right after Halloween or other holidays with all the leftover candy I have! But these are not limited to Halloween and are wonderful year-round.
Why this Recipe Works
These candy cookies bars super versatile and are perfect for using up that leftover Halloween candy, or leftover candy from any holiday—Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter, etc.
No mixer is required and the dough requires no chill time! You can even substitute the leftover candy for just regular old chocolate chips if that’s all you have. This recipe is perfect for tossing in the remnants of all those random little bags of chocolate chips, nuts, caramel bits, or whatever you have floating around.
- Butter. We use melted butter in this recipe which not only makes this recipe easier (no mixer!) it keeps these cookie bars nice and dense.
- Shredded coconut. Sweetened shredded coconut helps these cookies be soft and chewy. They are not overwhelmingly coconutty, it really just adds to the soft, chewy texture of these bars. If you really don’t like coconut then you can substitute more oats, see notes or our expert tips section.
- Oats. Old fashioned oats give these Halloween candy cookie bars a great texture and the perfect chew, and the flavor pairs perfectly with the coconut and candy.
- Candy. I always go for a variety of my favorite chocolate or nut-based candies. I always add some semi-sweet chocolate chips in their too. You can substitute all or a portion of the candy for chocolate chips if you are short on candy.
Ideas for mix-ins:
- Kit Kat
- Chocolate chips—white chocolate, peanut butter chips, dark chocolate, semisweet, butterscotch
- Heath bar
How to Make this Recipe
- Start by mixing together melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.
- Once combined, add in eggs and vanilla.
- Then, stir in flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder until just combined.
- Add in oats, shredded coconut, and chopped candy and mix-ins (reserve some for topping off the batter with).
- Spread batter evenly into a greased 9x13-inch pan. Sprinkle reserved toppings over top of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 23-25 min. Cool completely before slicing and serving.
What to do with leftover candy
- Make these Halloween candy cookie bars. That might seem like a given, but this is my favorite thing to do with my leftover candy.
- Make candy corn butterfingers. If you have a bunch of leftover candy corn try making these candy corn butterfingers, they taste like the real deal and are just 3 ingredients.
- Use it for gingerbread houses. Leftover Halloween candy is perfect for decorating gingerbread houses during the holiday season.
- Freeze it. Candy freezes exceptionally well! Throw it in the freezer for a treat later on.
- Have an ice cream bar. Chopped up candy on ice cream is another tasty idea for using up all that extra candy. Try pairing it with our homemade hot fudge.
- Put them in brownies. If cookie bars aren’t your thing, try chopping them up and mixing them in with our incredible fudge brownies!
- Donate it. There are tons of places that you can donate your Halloween candy! Check out this post for a full list of places you can donate your Halloween candy.
- Replace the coconut with all oats. You can make these cookies bars strictly with oatmeal. Just replace your 2 cups of shredded coconut with an additional 1½ cups old-fashioned oats.
- Best candy to put in cookies. This is really a personal preference, but I think that a variety of chocolate and nut-based candies are the best in these Halloween cookies. I usually like to go for a mixture of Reese’s, Heath bar, Snickers, and M&Ms. But you really can’t go wrong with any of them!
- Don’t overmix the dough. These cookies are dense, soft, and tender. They’re simple to make and don’t require any mixer or a lot of arm work. Overmixing the dough will develop the gluten in the flour, which will make these Halloween cookies tough.
- Don’t overbake the cookie bars. These cookie bars are designed to be soft and chewy, they may look slightly underdone when you pull them out, but the residual heat from the pan will help them set up and continue to cook them slightly as they cool. If you overbake these cookie bars they will start drying out faster and won’t stay as fresh.
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Halloween Candy Cookie Bars
- 1 cup butter melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups flour measured correctly
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 2-3 cups of candy/mix-ins
- Heath bar
- Chocolate chips (white chocolate, peanut butter chips, dark chocolate, semisweet, butterscotch)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl combine melted butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Once combined, add in eggs, and vanilla.
- Stir in flour, baking soda, and baking powder until just combined. Then stir in shredded coconut and oats, and mix ins (I reserved some mix-ins to sprinkle on top).
- Spread batter into a greased 9x13 pan until evenly distributed. Bake for 23-25 minutes, Cool completely before serving.
originally published November 1, 2018