Trashed Up Shortbread Cookie Bars (that use leftover Halloween candy)

These little trashed up shortbread cookie bars are just AMAZING, and they’re a great way to use up leftover Halloween candy! Buttery shortbread cookie bars laden with candy bits make for one amazing treat!

Trashed up shortbread cookie bars, leftover Halloween candy recipe, what to do with leftover Halloween candy!

These trashed up shortbread cookie bars that use leftover Halloween candy were originally posted celebrating the fabulous Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats for her virtual baby shower in 2014. Wow how time flies! She is now preggo with her second baby and after making these following my first Halloween with a Ben this year, I thought it only fitting to reshare these and update the post (I’ve made these bars coutless times over the years, they’re always a hit at parties)!


How was your Halloween? As you might have seen on my Instagram, Ben was a little skunk. But, ummm….he hated being in his costume lol. He literally had a full on meltdown with tears every time we put him in it lol. Nick even tried “no crying when we’re flying” which was the cutest thing ever. He still cried. Next year he might enjoy being dressed up?

baby Halloween in skunk costume

Ok, so these shortbread cookie bars come from having about a million and one pieces of left over Halloween candy. Why do I have so much left over Halloween candy? Because my husband is a giant softie when it comes to buying candy for trick-or-treaters.


He goes overboard to say the least. Like suuuuuper overboard. I distinctly remember the conversation: Me ‘honey, we don’t need a shopping cart for one bag of Halloween candy’ My Hubby ‘yes we do, we need at least 5 bags so we don’t run out.’ I just rolled my eyes and went with it, hey, I didn’t want to be the Grinch that stole Halloween.


We didn’t get as many trick-or-treaters as we did in our old neighborhood, so I was stuck with all this leftover candy lol (we used to get hundreds – I’d say about 400-500 kids and we’d run out of candy every year, this year we only got about 100, so yeah, tons of leftover candy.)


In all honesty, there’s only SO MUCH Halloween one can eat without getting sick of it, right?


So I set out to baking these little beauties, they are perfect for using all that left over Halloween candy!

candy trash

I had been staring at the empty candy wrappers and said to my hubby ‘I should call these candy trash shortbread cookie bars’ and it was his turn to laugh.


You’ll want to cut the bars right after they come out of the oven, then you’ll frost them:


Then you’ll let them cool, sprinkle a little sanding sugar on them and bring them to a party or baby shower. Another cool thing about these trashed up shortbread bars is that they keep very well for a few days, so if you need to make them ahead of time, go for it and just store them in an air tight container.


Trashed Up Shortbread Cookie Bars (that use leftover Halloween candy)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 50-60 small triangles
  • For the bars:
  • 3 sticks butter, unsalted, at room temperature (1½ cups butter)
  • ⅔ cup powdered sugar
  • 2½ cups flour
  • ⅓ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup candy, crushed (I used 2 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, a ½ cup Whoppers, and ⅓ Cup Heath Bars)
  • ⅛-1/4 cup water
  • -For the frosting-
  • 3 Tbs Butter, melted
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • -optional-
  • 1-2 Tbs sanding sugar for topping (I used this golden sanding sugar)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13 baking dish (I use this one) with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat butter for 1 minute, then scrape down the sides and add the powdered sugar and beat on low until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour and the corn starch. Beat slowly until the dough resembles a crumbly mixture.
  3. Next add the cup of candy pieces and beat until incorporated. If it is very dry and crumbly, add ⅛-1/4 Cup water so that the mixture comes together.
  4. Spread/press into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven, and immediately lift/transfer the parchment paper and shortbread bars to a cutting board or flat surface and cut them into squares, and then cut each square diagonally.
  5. While the shortbread bars are baking make the frosting. To do so, mix all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer until they are creamy and well mixed together. Pour frosting over the warm, cut shortbread bars. If using sanding sugar sprinkle it on top of the frosting.
  6. Allow bars to cool completely, then separate them with a butter knife by running the knife along the lines you have already cut. Then enjoy!
Note: This recipe has been made by a reader and featured on my Reader Recreation page. If you ever make a SweetPhi blog recipe that you’d like to share, just include the hashtag #Sweetphiblog on social media or send me an email to, I love seeing your recreations!

Reader recreation - trashed up shortbread bars

Reader recreation – trashed up shortbread bars

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Showing 76 comments
  • Amanda

    WOW!!! This is just fantastic!!!

    • Sweetphi

      Thank you so much Amanda, truly appreciate the comment 🙂

  • Sarah | The Sugar Hit

    Oh man, these are insane! Any time a cookie and a candy bar meet, beautiful things happen.

    • Sweetphi

      Haha, girl you’re so right…any time a cookie and a candy bar meet, beautiful things DO happen! I’m totally loling over here 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply

    You don’t want to run out of candy on Halloween 🙂

    • Sweetphi

      Haha, girl, with the amount of candy my hubby bought it will be months (and lots of batches of these) before I run out lol!

  • Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy

    These look craaaazy good! I love that you put Reeses in there 🙂

    • Sweetphi

      Thanks! Reeses should go in every dessert, right?

  • DaisyAtHome

    Love these! I may have to stop eating all this leftover Halloween candy long enough to make some epic shortbread bars. Yum!

    • Sweetphi

      Ha, you’re so sweet! But seriously, this shortbread is absolutely the perfect way to eat leftover Halloween candy 🙂

  • Ashley McLaughlin

    Gah! These are my dream cookie!! Thanks so much for joining in for Jess’s shower!

    • Sweetphi

      You’re too sweet! Thank you so much for comment, and an even bigger thank you for setting it all up, what a fantastic event 🙂

  • Sommer @ASpicyPerspective

    Oh, these cookie bars are perfect for a holiday cookie exchange!

    • Sweetphi

      I’m sure anyone in a cookie exchange would be MORE than happy to receive these for a holiday cookie exchange..little bits of candy…yum! Thanks for commenting Sommer!

  • Meagan

    Any thoughts on how they would freeze?? Getting ready to make them now – Can’t wait to see how they turn out. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Sweetphi

      That’s a great question! I think they would freeze really well. I’d make sure that they were cool completely first and then freeze them and then just let them thaw before enjoying! I’ve frozen regular short bread bars before and they thawed great 🙂

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