Zero Bar cookies are a cookie tribute to a candy bar loved by dads across the country. I originally found the recipe in The Advocate where it was accompanies by a lovely article by Beth Colvin about her father and Zero Bars. The article is gone, but the Zero Bars Cookies recipe is still here, as are Zero Bars!
So What Are Zero Bars?
If you’ve never heard of Zero Bars, they are white chocolate coated peanut, caramel and almond nougat candy bars that come in a silver wrapper. Back in the seventies they were made by Leaf, but today they are a Hershey brand with what I suspect is a strong regional following. I don’t remember seeing them when I lived in Chicago, NY or CT, but here in Austin you can find them in the checkout line at most H-E-B stores.
But for those of you who can’t find the Zero Bars anywhere, Zero Bars Cookies will do just fine! They’re simple to make. The base is almost identical to the Toll House recipe, but the white chips, peanuts and almond extract make it taste completely different.
UPDATE: I’ve been making these cookies for years now and still love this recipe. The almond extract combined with the peanuts and white chips gives the cookies a unique flavor.
Zero Bar Cookies
- 1 cup butter softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups white chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts chopped
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and both sugars until creamy. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until mixed.
- Mix or sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture, mixing until blended.
- Mix in the chips and peanuts. Drip by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake in a 375 oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.
- Yield is approximate and will vary with size.
I was just discussing favorite Halloween candy bars with my husband and Zero bars came up. I told him I love Zero bars to this day because my dad used to take one in his lunch box every day. Then I google-searched for a description and came across your blog. Needless to say, I was delighted with your conclusion that they’re beloved by dad’s everywhere 🙂
Love the idea of putting actual Zero Bar on the cookies. What I’d do is cut the bar into chunks, then as soon as the cookies come out of the oven just place a chunk in the center. In other words, it might be best to put the candy chunk on last rather than bake it in. Another thing you might do is bake the cookies as directed, allow them to cool, then drizzle white chocolate over the cookies. Stick the Zero Bar chunks onto the white chocolate before it sets.
My son is getting ready to graduate from basic training for the Army, and his favorite candy bar is the Zero bar. For high school graduation his Grammy bought him 2 cases (YES CASES) of Zero bars. So I was thinking what I could do with them. Then I saw this recipe. I was thinking about cutting a piece of the candy bar and putting it on top.
Hi Don! I’m glad you are planning your Christmas cookie list in February ;). I hope you enjoy the recipe.
I LOVE Zero candy bars. They were my flavorite as a kid and I have had one about every decade since. I just found one today and it brought all the memories rushing back. I googled the Zero bar to get some history on it and ran across your recipe. I believe we will add that to our annual Christmas cookie baking list with the Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Chip. Thank you so much!!!
Good luck with the new cookie creation!
I am soon to be 69 and Zero bars have been my favorite since I was a kid. They still are but very difficult to find in stores. I get them through Amazon.com.
But I like making cookies for my grand kids so am anxious to try your recipe. I currently use sugar cookie mix with almond extract and white chocolate chips so I kind of invented my own recipe. The peanuts should help perfect them. Thanks.
Sorry to hear about your brother. Good luck finding the Zero bars! I think you won’t have any problems.
My youngest brother, who was 51, recently died. He really did love Zero bars. We’re having a “going away” get together on Memorial Day weekend and I’m planning to take a case or two of Zero bars to the gathering (if I can locate enough). I love you, little brother.
Thanks for trying them!! About the salt, you are right. The salt from the peanuts definitely adds to the full effect, so if you use an unsalted nut you’ll want to increase the salt in the dough.
I made these last night, subbing in walnuts for the peanuts. Everyone seems to really like them. I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate, but that’s okay. That’s partially why I chose to make them; I knew I wouldn’t be tempted to overeat them!
One thing I didn’t think about, using roasted, salted peanuts would have upped the amount of salt, so maybe I should have sprinkled some salt on the walnuts, when I was toasting them. Nevertheless, I think they were fine with the unsalted walnut substitution.
I love Zero bars and now I want one! We had these in Illinois where I grew up and I see them here in PA. I think I may have to get one when I do my grocery run this weekend. Thanks for another great cookie idea.
I have never heard of these but they look good and i will make them. And thank you for the PLAIN E MAILS to send to friends who dont have all the fancy things. We older people dont have all the fancy things the young folks do, thanks again for keeping us in mind too
I haven’t seen Aero bars in years. I wonder if I haven’t been paying attention or if they aren’t around anymore? I think I’d like these cookies better anyway. 🙂
Mary, that’s a great story. It reminds me of a drink called Mr. Pibb which I used to drink at the pool. And yes, I can smell the chlorine when I think about Mr. Pibb. I’m glad to hear your sister is able to find them in DC, and what a sweet gesture.
Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust
I’ve seen those, but never had one. Now I want to go eat one and make these cookies!
Just HAVE to share my Zero bar thoughts. My family lived in Cincinnati until I was five, then we moved to Dallas … this was in the late 60’s / early 70’s. During the summer months Mom would take us kids to the YMCA pool a couple of times a week, and when we left the pool she’d let each of get a candy bar or chewing gum from the vending machine. I had never seen them before moving to Texas, but I would ALWAYS get a Zero bar. To this day, 40 years later, every time I think of or see a Zero bar I can “smell” the chlorine of the swimming pool! They’re hard to find here in the Washington D.C. area but every year my sister makes certain there’s a Zero bar slipped into my Christmas stocking 🙂
I’ve never seen them! But these cookies look like a ‘must make!’ I love salty sweet combos!
What a fun cookie! I have not seen the Zero bars in CA.
Excellent! That’s 3 dads! Three Zero Bar loving dads.
My dad loves Zero bars! He always keeps one in his glove box. I’ll have to make him these.