Trashed Up Shortbread Cookie Bars

These little trashed up shortbread cookie bars are just…words are escaping me because they’re just flat out AMAZING! Buttery shortbread cookie bars laden with candy bits, and the best part about these trashed up cookie bars? They’re part of a virtual baby shower celebrating the fabulous Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats.


For those of you that don’t know Jessica’s blog…wait a second, I should rephrase that because everyone knows the amazingness of the How Sweet Eats blog. Get ready to hear a lot of the word ‘amazingness’ throughout this post…fair warning? Because I have been such a fan of her blog, it’s a little embarrassing my level of excitement for these shortbread cookie bars; I made them 3 separate times just to be sure they were perfect!


OMG you guys, Jessica loves trashed up recipes, glitter, neon, and lots of exclamation points!!! A girl clearly after my heart and you can better believe her baby is going to be THAT kid … you know, the one with the cutest clothes and always that has most delicious lunches…I foresee a lot of lunch theft… I need to have my sisters-in-law (who are teachers) teach Jessica’s future child in hopes of her baking cookies or something for the class which they will then deliver to me! I mean, just last week she made these Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Stuffed Caramel Apples! Allow me to pick up my jaw from the keyboard!


Ok, so these shortbread cookie bars…they come from a place of love and admiration. And a place of 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 get home, with our giant bags and he starts separating them by type. BY TYPE OF CANDY!!! Ocd much? But does he hand out candy to the droves trick-or-treaters? Nope, he goes ‘honey, I put out a lawn chair for you, and the bowls of candy are out there so you can let the kids can choose what candy they want’


I went outside and sat myself down in my designated lawn chair and looked down at the three bowls of candy and started just dumping them into one bowl, and wouldn’t you know, he heard me! Lol! He came outside and started separating them again and was doing on Quality Control patrol the rest of the afternoon. I couldn’t stop laughing and was texting my girl Lynn throughout and she joked that I was put on quarantine by him.


And did we have 5000 trick-or-treaters? No, of course not, so I was left with giant bags of candy, more than appropriate to bring to work.

candy trash

So I set out to baking these little beauties, they are perfect for using all that left over Halloween candy, and definitely perfect for a baby shower. 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 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.


Want some more deliciously ‘trashed’ up recipes? Check out these amazing virtual baby shower participants, and again, a HUGE CONTRATS to Jessica!

trashed up salads

  1. Gimme Some Oven – Asian Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce
  2. The Lemon Bowl – Brussels Slaw with Tahini Dressing and Za’atar Crostini
  3. With Style & Grace – Kale Salad with Apple, Hazelnuts & Bacon

trashed up cocktails

  1. Dine & Dish – Hot Buttered Rum Cocktail
  2. Food For My Family – Cranberry Orange Dark and Stormy Cocktail
  3. Minimalist Baker – Bourbon Pumpkin Milkshakes
  4. Stylish, Stealthy & (sometimes) Healthy – Apple Cider Shandy
  5. Girl vs. Dough – Boozy Maple Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake
  6. Honestly Yum – Maple Bacon Pisco Sour
  7. Cookin Canuck – Pink Grapefruit Margaritas
  8. A Thought For Food – Mezcal Citrico Cocktail
  9. A House in the Hills – Pomegranate Rosemary Spritzer
  10. The Novice Chef – Ginger Bourbon Apple Cider
  11. Bran Appetit – Citrus Cider Punch Floats

trashed up burgers

  1. Edible Perspective – Meatloaf Veggie Burgers with Mashed Potatoes + Gravy
  2. The Little Kitchen – Salmon BLT Sliders with an Avocado Aioli & Brie
  3. Daisy At Home – Balsamic Beef Burger with Mac and Cheese
  4. Cookies & Cups – Candied Bacon Maple Cheddar Burger
  5. Climbing Grier Mountain – Trashed-Up Steak Burger with Chicken Fried Bacon & Dijon Gravy
  6. Dessert For Two – Bleu Cheese Burgers + Sweet Potato Fries
  7. Country Clever – Fig Rosemary Roast Chicken Brie Brussels Sprout Panini
  8. Foodie Crush – The Best Cheeseburger Soup
  9. Lady and Pups – Spicy Sambal Chicken Meatball Sub with Eggs
  10. Two Peas & Their Pod – Sweet Potato and Kale Grilled Cheese
  11. Bake Your Day – Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich

trashed up tacos

  1. Spoon Fork Bacon – Crunchy Ground Beef and Cheesy Tacos
  2. The Fauxmartha – Boozy Beef and Butternut Tacos
  3. With Food + Love – Harvest Hash Breakfast Tacos
  4. Mountain Mama Cooks – Crispy Kale and Brussels Sprout Tacos with Bacon
  5. Heather Christo – Bahn Mi Tacos with Spicy Sriracha Honey Sauce
  6. A Couple Cooks – Loaded Huevos Rancheros Tacos
  7. Fitnessista – San Diego Lobster Street Tacos

trashed up desserts

  1. Table for Two – Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate, and Brown Butter Shortbread Bars with Sprinkles
  2. My Name is Yeh – Mini Vanilla Loaf Cakes, All Trashed Up
  3. Picky Palate – Pumpkin Spice Butterscotch Sprinkle Cupcakes
  4. Sprinkle Bakes – Cake Batter Confetti Cupcakes
  5. Averie Cooks – Easy Homemade Funfetti Cake with Vanilla Buttercream
  6. Sweet Phi – Trashed Up Shortbread Cookie Bars
  7. Love & Olive Oil – Loaded Junk Food Brownies
  8. Lauren’s Latest – Bakery Sugar Cookies
  9. Cookie + Kate – Peanut Butter, Banana, Honey and Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
  10. Flourishing Foodie – Triple Layer Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
  11. The Sugar Hit – Salted Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream Cake
  12. Hummingbird High – Breakfast Cereal Cake Donuts
  13. Top With Cinnamon – Triple Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Crumb Cake
  14. Bake at 350 – Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sundaes
  15. Simple Bites – Lemon Layer Cake
  16. Bakerella – Baby Block Cake Pops
  17. She Wears Many Hats –  Chocolate Covered Grapefruit

trashed up pizza

  1. Bev Cooks – Beer Battered Fried Calamari Pizza
  2. Rachel Cooks – Apple and Chicken Sausage Pizza with Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Crust
  3. Foodie With Family – Trashed Up Barbecue Turkey Pizza
  4. Shutterbean – Pesto Potato Bacon Pizza
  5. i am a food blog – Grilled Cheese Pizza
  6. My Life as a Mrs – Chili Cheese Dog Pizza
  7. Simply Scratch – Steak + Blue Cheese Pizza with Crispy Fried Shallots and Honey Balsamic Drizzle
  8. The Beeroness – Beer Cheese Tater Tot Pizza
  9. Yes I Want Cake – Roasted Pumpkin Pizza
  10. Two Red Bowls – Bacon Mashed Potato Pizza
  11. Dula Notes – Pork Bahn Mi Pizza
  12. Weelicious – Trashed Up Mexican Pizza Pockets
  13. Take a Megabite – Roasted Beet Pizza
  14. Hungry Girl Por Vida – Hard Cider Braised Pork with Sour Cherries and Cheesy Polenta
  15. Bakers Royale – Trash’d Street Tacos
Trashed Up Shortbread Cookie Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 50-60 small triangles
  • 3 Sticks Butter, at room temperature
  • 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
  • 1½ Cups Powdered Sugar
  • -optional-
  • 1-2 Tbs Sanding Sugar for Topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13 baking dish 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 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 into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven, and immediately transfer the parchment paper and shortbread bars to a cutting board or flat surface and cut them into squares, and then each square into a diagonal.
  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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