Easy Valentine Brown Sugar Bars

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Valentine Brown Sugar Bars take little time to make and are perfect for dessert, a lunchbox treat, or a class party. Surprise your family, friends, or coworkers. You’re sure to win brownie points.

Three slices of brown sugar bars on a white plate with M&Ms scattered around.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This treat is made from scratch.
  • You’re making bars rather than cookies, therefore there is no scooping involved.
  • Easy clean-up.
  • What I love about these brown sugar bars is their versatility. Make them for any holiday or occasion by swapping out Valentine’s M&Ms for other color combinations.
  • Before I bake them I add a few more M&M’s on top. Doing so makes them look prettier.

What do I need to make Brown Sugar Bars?

Just nine common ingredients are necessary to make this easy dessert.

  • Brown Sugar – No white sugar necessary.
  • Butter – Unsalted but if you only have salted, omit the salt in the recipe.
  • Egg – Just one large egg.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – Don’t use imitation, only pure vanilla extract.
  • Flour – All-purpose flour.
  • Salt – Omit if using salted butter.
  • Baking Powder – Don’t omit it because there’s also baking soda.
  • Baking Soda – Don’t omit because there’s also baking powder.
  • M&Ms – I used Valentine’s colors but use any colors you have.
A stack of three Valentine Brown Sugar Bars on a white plate.

Why do I need to use both baking powder and baking soda?

Basically, sometimes you need both baking soda and baking powder in a recipe when you need more leavening than you have acid available. Another reason is they both affect flavor and browning

You can see these bars are a bit more brown than an average blondie. That’s because of using all brown sugar and two types of leavening. It’s all about the balance of flavor and texture.

How can I serve Valentine Brown Sugar Bars?

I like to make these Valentine’s Day treats for my kid’s lunch boxes because they are a delicious surprise.

They make a delicious base for an ice cream sundae. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a square and top it with chocolate syrup and a few more M&Ms top it off.

Overhead photos of Valentine Brown Sugar Bars dough in a baking pan.

How Do I Make Brown Sugar Bars?

You probably have all of the ingredients between your pantry and refrigerator. When making these bars use a wooden spoon and hand mix them. The dough is thick and will require elbow grease but it’s worth the effort.

When they are in the oven, start checking for doneness at the shortest amount of time. While each oven varies, it’s good practice.

Valentine Brown Sugar Bars cut into serving sizes on parchment.

If you really want to get creative, purchase your school colors and make them for a bake sale! As a result, I would venture a guess they sell out. I actually sent these to my son’s class.

Will These Brown Sugar Bars Ship Well?

Do you have a college student or family member in the military? They would ship well if you wanted to send them in a care package. I sent these to my nephew last year and they arrived in excellent condition.

I wrapped each one in some parchment then put a couple in a ziplock bag then packed them in a box for shipping with cushioning.

Three slices of brown sugar bars on a white plate with M&Ms scattered around.

How do you cut Brown Sugar Bars?

This recipe is made in an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan. To cut the bars, first cut them in half, then cut each half in half so you have four sections. Rotate the pan and cut in half then each half in half again. You now have 16 bars.

If you want more recipes with festive seasonal M&M’s visit Easter M&M’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, Halloween M and M Chocolate Chip Cookies, or Chocolate Cake Mix Christmas M&M Cookies.

More Sweet Valentine’s Day Desserts

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and 5-star review on the recipe card below. If you really love this recipe, please share it on your social media!

Valentine Brown Sugar Bars

Valentine Brown Sugar Bars are a sweet treat.
4.97 from 27 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Desserts and Sweets
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • cup butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup Valentine M&M’s divided

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350℉.
  • Butter the bottom only of an 8 x 8 inch square pan and line. with parchment paper, allowing some parchment to hang over the sides. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, combine the brown sugar and melted butter until well combined. Add in the egg and vanilla, mixing until both are incorporated.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the brown sugar mixture and stir until all the flour is incorporated. Mix in ½ cup of the Valentine M&M's.
  • Spread batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining M&M’s.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool completely before cutting.

Originally published in 2016; Updated in 2020 and 2023

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25 Comments

  1. I love baking with M&Ms and using all brown sugar in recipes seems to give the baked goods more of a softer bite…love it

  2. I am obsessed with m&m’s lately so these cookie bars are on my must make list!! Welcome to The Fill The Cookie Jar group 🙂

  3. Hi, welcome to the group, it’s so nice to meet you. The Brown Sugar Bars are a delicious Valentine’s Day treat.

  4. I would love to have one of these (or two) in my lunch box! They look so good and I love the fact that you can switch them up for any holiday! Thanks so much for being a part of the Fill The Cookie Jar group. So glad you are here!

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