Payday Cookie Bars

I have learned so many, many things from the Southern husband. For example: convertibles are light-years better than regular cars. Few meals in life are better than crayfish steamed in Old Bay spices and chased with Dixie beer. All the words to more Springsteen songs than I can count. And Payday candy bars.


Before he bought me my first Payday bar, lo these many years ago, I foolishly thought that all candy bars needed to involve chocolate. Not so…the wonderful Payday bar is peanuts and caramel with not a bit of chocolate anywhere, and it is GOOD. You don’t see them around too often, but when you do, it’s well worth buying one. Or two. So I was so excited to when I ran across this recipe for a cookie version of a Payday bar.

This is the third dessert in a row that I have made with yellow cake mix as a base…what does this MEAN? Probably that I should start buying yellow cake mix at Costco. (Any excuse to go to Costco!) Anyway, this is a three-step recipe, and each of the steps are easy — honestly, the hardest part of this entire thing was cutting the final product into squares. This is rich and dense and chewy, so cut those squares small. A little of this fabulous recipe goes a very long way!

So with thanks to The Lonely Baker, where I first spied this recipe, here they are!

Payday Cookie Bars
Layer One: The Crust
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ⅔ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
Layer Two: The Marshmallows
  • 2 cups of mini marshmallows
Layer Three: The Peanutty Deliciousness
  • 1 bag peanut butter chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ⅔ cup corn syrup
  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 2 cups salted peanuts
Layer One
  1. Mix all of the ingredients, press into a slightly greased 9X13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden.
Layer Two
  1. Sprinkle marshmallows over top of crust. Bake for another 5 minutes
Layer Three
  1. Melt chips, butter and corn syrup in a saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in cereal and peanuts. Poor over base and spread evenly. Cool, cut into squares. Small squares. Trust me on this.


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  1. Oklahoma Granny says

    Oh, my goodness. I think I have everything to make these tonight. If not, there'll be a trip to the grocery tomorrow.

    Side note: You probably already know this but if you mix salted peanuts and candy corn together – wa-lah! – that Payday bar taste.

  2. Andrea says

    Wow, love Pay Day candy bars, can't wait to try this recipe!

    I think they make Easter candy corn in some form or another. Pretty sure I saw some last year at Wal Mart (I hate that store, but they always have the best candy selection for whatever holiday we're celebrating).

    Thanks for the recipe Kate!

  3. Amber says

    Oh yay, I'm so glad you liked them! I just made them again this past Christmas for a cookie exchange. They even won for best cookie, hehe…I love them! You have a beautiful blog btw!

    Take care,
    Amber(The Lonely Baker)


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