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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Sweet Valentine’s Day Desserts
- Valentine Cookie Pops are a fun treat to make with the kids.
- Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Tarts are perfect for an intimate dinner for two.
- White Chocolate Valentine’s Bark makes a great favor for a Galentine’s party.
- Cake Batter Fudge is a sweet treat to wrap up for friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
- Sweetheart Brownies are easy and very festive.
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Valentine Brown Sugar Bars
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- ⅓ cup butter melted
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup Valentine M&M’s divided
- 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