13 dessert bars and squares to mix and match for holiday gifting

(Photos by (L-R): Michael Gozum, Jodi Pudge, Michael Gozum)

There’s no need to choose just one bar or square recipe to make for the holidays. Why not make a few, then mix and match them? You can tackle some of the easy recipes here yourself — perhaps one per day — or you can team up with some friends and each make a big batch of a different kind, then trade!

For the ultimate variety pack, we’ve got some classics as well as some really inventive spins. Bars swimming in chocolate, loaded with fruits and nuts, drenched in caramel and more — plus some bonus bark recipes, too.

Hazelnut Espresso Millionaire Bars

Roasted hazelnuts, rich caramel, smooth chocolate ganache and a buttery crust is already a winning combination. Add a little espresso and those flavors hit highs you didn’t know were possible.

(Photography by Michael Gozum)

Orange-Scented Date Crumb Bars

Brighten up these date crumb bars with orange zest and a dash of cinnamon. Your nose and taste buds will thank you.

(Photography by Michael Gozum)

Movie Night Indulgence Bars

All your favorite concession stand treats piled on a chocolate and peanut butter brownie!

Powerhouse Granola Bars

Not every bar has to give you a sugar rush. Some bars deliver a boost of energy from dried fruit, chopped nuts and a little bit of espresso, should you require it.

(The Goods)

Nanaimo Bars

This classic Canadian dessert consists of a chocolatey coconut and graham crumb crust, a layer of custard filling and a chocolate glaze on top. Or Can—I please have more?

Fun fact: the earliest recorded recipe for Nanaimo bars appeared in Vancouver’s ‘Edith Adams’ Cookbook’ in 1953. But many Nanaimo residents say the treat has been around a lot longer. (The Great Canadian Baking Show)

Icebox Lemon Squares

Lemon squares are a staple at potlucks and picnics, but they also make excellent gifts for the lemon lovers in your life. These delightful squares incorporate the richness of Greek yogurt and the sweetness of honey, which blend beautifully with a lively punch of lemon.


Salted Tahini Chocolate Swirl Brownies

Tahini brings a nutty quality to these brownies without overpowering the chocolate.

(Photo: David Bagosy, Styling: Melissa Direnzo)

Sweet Potato Brownies

Hold the sugar! These gluten-free brownies deliver the natural sweetness of sweet potato and maple syrup to satisfy that brownie craving.

Black Bean Brownies

Want to make sure your loved ones are getting a proper helping of protein with their holiday treats? Try including these brownies in their gift.

Brown Butter Spelled Brownies

These delectable brownies use spelled instead of all-purpose flour, and the brown butter gives them lovely nutty richness.

Second up, Brown Butter Spelled Brownies. (Submitted by Renee Kohlman)

Brown Butter Blondes

If you want an alternative to the rich indulgence of chocolate, try out these blondies that bring the caramelly goodness of brown butter into the mix.

(Photography by Jodi Pudge)

Apple Rocky Road

This rocky road recipe takes a detour from the traditional dessert, blending together white chocolate, marshmallows and apples.

(Credit: Hungry Gap Productions Ltd.)

Birthday Present Puffed Rice Treats

This tried-and-true shareable treat comes appropriately dressed up for any gift-giving occasion.


Potato Chip and Pretzel Milk Chocolate Bark

Chocolate bark is a welcome addition to any dessert variety pack. Extremely easy to make, this bark combines sweet and salty in a match made in heaven.

Pistachio and Peach White Chocolate Bark

White chocolate is versatile when it comes to complementing other flavours. Its creamy sweetness makes the ideal foundation for peaches and pistachios.

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