Chocolate Chunk Cactus Cookie Bar

For a sweet n’ easy spin on this chocolate chunk cookie bar, pull out your cutters. I’m currently having a prickly little love affair with the saguaro cactus. I’m nuts over anything cactus-ish for baking or home decor. I used a springtime green hue for the royal icing and simply outlined the Chocolate Chunk Cookie Cactus. For an extra surprise, I added a layer of chocolate brownie – yep, I said that – to the bottom of the bar. Want more chocolate chip or brownie options? I got ya covered

Chocolate Chunk Cactus Cookie with Green Royal Icing

Thanks to fellow baking and dessert blogger Tutti Dolci for the recipe inspiration. Let’s start with the brownie layer, and then make the chocolate chunk cookie layer. Royal icing decoration comes last.

Chocolate Chunk Cactus Cutter


First, microwave the chocolate chips and butter and let cool. Then mix the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk eggs mixture, and then whisk in melted chocolate. Add flour, and pour batter into prepared pan.


Combine ingredients per the recipe, and lastly fold in chocolate chunks. Of course, you can use chocolate chips but I think chocolate chunks just takes it up a notch.
Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough evenly over brownie batter. At this point, don’t worry about the cookie dough being a neat and even layer over the brownie. Smooth cookie dough and sprinkle with chocolate chips – basically no one will be taking a bite without a mouthful of chocolate.
After baking, cool completely on a wire rack. Lift parchment to remove bars from pan and place on a cutting board. After letting the bars cool, grab the cutter of choice and go to work. Cue the cute cacti.


Electric Green Royal Icing on Cactus Cookie


I’ve used my tried and true royal icing recipe a gazillion times, and I want to emphasize just how easy it is to whip up, versus a store-bought version. It’s three ingredients + warm water (confectioners sugar, meringue powder, vanilla). Add food coloring to the royal icing – I used Leaf Green or Electric Green for my outlines.

Did anyone say Cinco de Mayo is almost exactly 4 weeks away? #feelin’it

Cactus Brownie Surprise!


Chocolate Chunk Brownie Bars - Cactus!

Photos by: Maria Hedrick Photography

Chocolate Chip Brownie Bar

By TheSweetNerd  

April 4, 2018


Brownie Layer

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup flour

Cookie Layer

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chunks

A handful of chocolate chunks to sprinkle on the top layer

Royal Icing

2 pounds confectioners sugar

5 Tablespoons meringue powder

2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 to 3/4 cups warm water

Americolor electric green and leaf green dye


Brownie Layer

1Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. For the brownie layer, combine chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat together in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until smooth and glossy. Let cool slightly.

2Combine eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Whisk in melted chocolate. Fold in flour just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula.

Cookie Layer

1For the cookie layer, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter and sugars in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture; beat just until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chunks.

2Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough evenly over brownie batter (don't worry about a completely even layer of dough). Gently smooth cookie dough with an offset spatula and sprinkle dough with chocolate chips, pressing gently to adhere. Sprinkle chocolate chunks atop the dough.

3Bake for about 38 to 40 minutes, until top and edges are golden and set (tent with foil after 25 minutes of baking time to prevent over-browning). Cool completely in baking pan on a wire rack. Lift parchment to remove bars from pan and place on a cutting board; let cool and use a cacti cookie cutter. If you would like to omit this step, you could cut into traditional bars with a sharp knife.

Royal Icing

1Add vanilla flavoring into 1/2 cup water and set aside until step 3.

2In the mixer (paddle attachment), gently mix confectioners sugar and meringue powder on low.

3Add 1/2 cup flavored water and mix on low until it is thick and lumpy. Add green dye until preferred color.

4Now drizzle the remaining water as needed until it becomes a thick like honey consistency.

5At this point, turn mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes or so until icing is thick and fluffy. Stop when it forms a soft peak.



  • Sonal
    10 months ago

    I am in love with this recipe. Such a fun and creative idea. Combining brownie with cookies is a brilliant thing and then shaping them into cactus! Amazing!!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      10 months ago

      Thanks Sonal! So easy, and works all year long.

  • 10 months ago

    I love the idea of cutting out the cookies AFTER they’re baked instead of before. So much easier for a baking novice like me.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      10 months ago

      Agreed. Plus they’re nice and thick for cutting.

  • 10 months ago

    What a tasty idea and so cute too! I love these little cookies.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      10 months ago

      Thanks Angela – let me know if you make ’em.

  • 10 months ago

    these are just the cutest! But I love just how easy they seem. great idea

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      10 months ago

      Thanks Rebecca – they are super easy!

  • You’d think that after all the Easter candy I consumed I wouldn’t want another chocolate chip cookie or chocolate anything – but am sitting here looking at these cookies AND DROOLING! Gah – I think I could eat a half dozen of these easily 🙂

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      10 months ago

      Ha! Me too Shashi. Easter candy and chocolate bars fall under different categories of satisfaction. Each delish in their own rights.

  • 10 months ago

    They are just too adorable. Love it 🙂

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      10 months ago

      Thanks Jeanette.

  • Tessa
    10 months ago

    I’ve never tried brownie + a chocolate chip cookie bar – it’s totally the best of both worlds. I love the cactus, but also love how easy this would be to change out cutters and colors.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      10 months ago

      Yes, that’s what I was thinking. Valentine’s Day with hearts, Halloween with spooky cutters. The possibilities are really endless.

  • Kendall
    10 months ago

    Okay so don’t tell anyone but I strongly dislike brownies by themselves… however I do think that I would love these bars! It’s half and half which lets me enjoy two in one. Pluuuuus these are so darn cute!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      10 months ago

      Kendall – it’s ok to omit the brownie layer. You should really have it the way you like it!

  • Lorna Soonhee Umphrey
    10 months ago

    These are absolutely adorable! After you cut out the cacti, any suggestions on what to do with the leftover brownie bits aside from stuffing them all into my face? Yum!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      9 months ago

      Stuffing your face is completely fine, Lorna. You could also add to a small plastic treat bag and present to your favorite little person as a baggie full of nibbles.

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