Pantry Challenge Bar Cookie Recipe

I give up.  I don’t know what to call them.  English toffee cookies, no compromise cookies, three bears cookies.  Take your pick.  I’m calling them the pantry challenge bar cookie recipe, but I’m open to suggestions.

My mom always called these “English Toffee Cookies.”  But that’s kind of misleading.  They don’t have the layer of chocolate creamy goodness that most recipes with that name have.

As I explained earlier, I refuse to compromise my cookies.  That’s where the name “No Compromise” cookies came from.  I don’t want to compromise on ingredients OR flavor.   They could also be called “Compromise Cookies” because the one bar cookie can be made into several flavors of cookies at once.

(One bowl, one pan, four cookie flavors.  That rocks.)

bar cookie recipe header

It took three tries to get the recipe right.  The first time was too greasy.  The second time was too crackery.  The third time was just right.  So maybe “Three Bear Cookies” is a good name.

(The problem I was having was caused by my oven being mis-calibrated.  It was off by over 25 degrees.  Sigh.  I also discovered I need new glasses.  It’s hard to tell if anything is in focus. Ugh!)

Then I realized that they’re the perfect recipe for cleaning out your baking cabinet.   Seriously.  The third batch I made was topped with whatever I found in the pantry.  I had a bunch of bags of baking chips that were almost empty.

(Someone had been sneaking chocolate chips.  What other reason is there to have a bag with a tablespoon of chocolate chips in there? Seriously.)

So I’m going with Pantry Challenge Bar Cookies.

Since that’s the name I’m going with, here’s a few things to know.

Pantry Challenge Bar Cookie Recipe

You can swap out half the flour for oatmeal.  I did that.  It was just plain dry oatmeal whirred through my food processor to make it a powder.  You totally can’t tell.

simple ingredients

Simple ingredients, feel free to substitute based on what you have.

You can swap out the butter for margarine.  My mom did that.  It’s what I grew up with.

You can swap out some of the brown sugar for white sugar.  It works.

You can reduce the sugar and fat by whatever means you see fit.  I cut the sugar AND fat in half and added an extra egg.  The dough still turned into crisp cookie.  It was just a little too “meh” for my family.   But… since I added extra chocolate chips on the top they ate it anyway.

chip stash

It may look like this at the START of the baking season, but by the end… it’s a mess.

You can use whatever bits of baking goodness are in your pantry.  I’ve used chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, heath bar bits, nuts, crumbled up candy bar, grated semi sweet baking chocolate, coconut, raisins, and even M&Ms.  Yes, I’ve sunk so low as to treat the bar as one giant sugar cookie and sprinkle it with the colored sugar and sprinkles.

chocolate chips

Gratuitous shot of chocolate chips just to make you want to bake cookies today.

(Hmmm… Maybe birthday party cookies would be a good name.)

Did you catch the best part?

One Bowl.  One Pan. Four Flavors.

This was my mom’s genius.

in the pan

Look! Sprinkle the chips in different directions to get different flavors.

By sprinkling the chips in different directions, you get more than one flavor from the same pan.  In the photo, you would end up with butterscotch, chocolate chip, chocolate butterscotch, and plain.  You could do stripes of different chips one direction and then sprinkle nuts on only half the pan.

The plain flavor was topped with marshmallows and chocolate chips and then broiled until amazing.   Sigh.  We ate it up before I could take a single photo.

The flavor combos are unlimited, but my favorites are:

  • mint + white chocolate + dark chocolate
  • milk chocolate + peanut butter chips
  • toffee bar sprinkles + chocolate + chopped walnuts
  • s’mores (cook the plain cookie, then add marshmallows and chocolate chips and broil)
  • chocolate and butterscotch chips with peanuts.

one bowl one pan four flavors


Let’s see…

One pan, four flavors, AND it lets me de-clutter my pantry.

That’s my kind of cookie!

pantry challenge bar cookie recipe


Pantry Challenge Bar Cookies Rock

Here’s my mom’s recipe.  Enjoy.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Pantry Challenge Bar Cookie Recipe
Recipe type: cookies
Cuisine: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Use up your leftover holiday baking supplies with this simple bar cookie recipe. One bowl, four flavors.
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • toppings: 6 ounces of chips (chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter) and ½ cup nuts (optional)
  1. Cream the sugar and butter (my mom wrote oleo on the recipe, a wonderful old fashioned word).
  2. Add the egg and beat until creamy.
  3. Add flour and mix well.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Spread mixture in a 9x11 rectangular baking pan.
  6. Sprinkle chips and nuts on top (let your children do this step if you are feeling brave).
  7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until the cookie is golden and yummy.
  8. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Pin it now.  Bake it later.  Call it “decluttering” and pat yourself on the back.


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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. I love the way you divided the pan in four sections for four different options. That way you can please everybody! Genius.
    Patty recently posted..5 Ways to Handle Unwanted Family HeirloomsMy Profile

  2. Yes, and my kids will love picking their toppings for the cookies. I am pinning this recipe. Thank you for sharing
    Jolene recently posted..A weekend roadtripMy Profile

  3. Oh dear God in heaven, I must have these RIGHT AWAY!! I am pinning this recipe RIGHT NOW.-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted..The Worst Christmas Display You Will Ever See!My Profile

  4. Love the four different flavors on one pan. I have 3 little ones and 1 big guy, my husband, so this will work for them. I like the recipe. Also this will be our weekend project as a family. Thanks

  5. This recipe is not easy at all. Thanks for your very detail post. I’ll try it oneday.

  6. Hey you have posted a great article about Cookie Recipe. I like it. very testy and very nice. I wan eat this Cookie Recipe. Oops very testy. many thanks for share this idea.

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