Sugar Cookie Bars
These easy frosted sugar cookie bars are sure to put a smile on your face! Soft & chewy, with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting & plenty of sprinkles!
Hey, I’m finally back! It was a rough few days after the surgery I mentioned in my last post (Chocolate Chip Cake), but I’m good now, and there was no cancer! Hallelujah!
Thanks for hanging in there with me for the last several days without any new recipes. Your patience has paid off- because today I’m sharing the most fun and delicious treat: sugar cookie bars!
- If you want a sturdy, cut-out sugar cookie that’s good for decorating with royal icing, you want this recipe for Sugar Cookies that Don’t Spread in the Oven.
- If you want a softer cut-out that can be frosted with buttercream, try this Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies recipe.
- Or if you like a simple drop cookie that’s soft and chewy, this Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies recipe is perfect.
And if you are looking for something that’s incredibly easy and quick to make, then these sugar cookie bars have got your name all over them. You don’t need to roll the dough, cut out shapes, or even scoop balls! Just spread everything into a pan and bake. They’re soft, a little chewy, and so butter-y tasting.
Once they’re completely cooled, spread on a thick layer of frosting and add sprinkles! It doesn’t get any easier, or any prettier!
HOW TO MAKE SUGAR COOKIE BARS
There are just a handful of simple ingredients in this recipe, most of which I’ll bet you already have on hand.
Butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. That’s it!
You can also add a little almond extract if you like. I didn’t think to do so when I was making this batch, but I often do with sugar cookies and it adds the most wonderful flavor. If you like it too, I’ve included the recommended amount in the recipe card below, but it’s really just a matter of taste, so feel free to use a little more or less.
Start by creaming the butter and sugar together until very pale and very fluffy. This usually takes NO LESS than 5 minutes.
Then, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, and add the egg, the extra yolk, and the extract(s). Mix this together well until perfectly smooth.
Next, add the dry ingredients. Flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt get stirred in gently until just barely combined. Don’t overmix- or your sugar cookie bars could come out tough!
The cornstarch is there to keep the bars soft and tender. It adds structure without gluten, and it’s a pure starch so it’s completely flavorless. Make sure you buy cornstarch (a fine white powder), and not cornmeal (which is yellow, gritty, and has a taste similar to corn chips).
Once you’ve got a stiff dough, transfer it to your baking pan. You don’t need to grease the pan (the cookies are already so butter-y) but it is a good idea to line it with parchment. This way, they’re really easy to lift out! Check out this post to learn more: How to Line Pans with Parchment.
Spread the dough out to all the corners of the pan, making a nice, even layer, and then into the oven they go!
CAN THESE SUGAR COOKIE BARS BE BAKED IN A DIFFERENT SIZE PAN?
You can totally do that! Your bars will come out a little thinner if you do. Just keep an eye on them as they bake, because the time might need to be adjusted slightly.
You’ll know your sugar cookie bars are done baking when they look slightly golden around the edges, but they’re still soft towards the center.
Keep in mind that they will continue to set up as they cool, just from the residual heat. It’s called “carry-over cooking.” So it’s always a good idea to pull things from the oven when they’re just a bit shy of how done you’d like them to ultimately be.
WHAT KIND OF FROSTING TO PUT ON SUGAR COOKIE BARS
I love the combination of sugar cookies + cream cheese, so I used my favorite cream cheese frosting for the sugar cookie bars you see here.
For the chocolate frosting and Swiss meringue buttercream, you’ll need just a half batch. For the American style buttercream, you’ll only need 1/4 batch.
FOR WHAT SORT OF OCCASIONS COULD YOU MAKE SUGAR COOKIE BARS?
These sugar cookie bars are so versatile! They’re great for so many occasions.
For what you see here, I tinted the frosting with just a drop of Royal Blue gel food coloring, and garnished with a handful of fun, multicolored sprinkles. This look would be perfect for a baby or bridal shower, or for Easter, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day.
But you could change up the colors of the frosting and sprinkles, and these would be great for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, or Christmas. You could even match the colors of your favorite team, and they’d make an awesome treat for game day!
HOW LONG DO SUGAR COOKIE BARS STAY GOOD FOR?
Sugar cookie bars are a great make-ahead dessert. You can definitely make them a day or two before you plan to serve them. They’ll stay moist and soft for a long time, especially if you keep them tightly wrapped.
If you have any leftovers, they should keep (tightly wrapped) at room temperature for a day or two. After that, pop them into the fridge for up to a week.
CAN YOU FREEZE SUGAR COOKIE BARS?
You can definitely freeze these sugar cookie bars without a problem, but it’s probably best if they’re unfrosted. Some of the above-noted frostings may not do so well through the freezing and thawing process.
Sugar cookie bars will keep (tightly wrapped) in the freezer for around 2 months.
Next time you have something fun to celebrate, make up a batch of these fun sugar cookie bars! They’ll definitely make everyone smile!
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Sugar Cookie Bars
For the Sugar Cookie Bars
- 3/4 cup (170.25 g) unsalted butter, (1 1/2 sticks), softened
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 egg, (large)
- 1 egg yolk, (large)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract , (optional)
- 2 1/4 cups (281.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (32 g) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
To Make the Sugar Cookie Bars
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9x9-inch baking pan* with parchment paper.
- Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream together on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy (5 to 7 minutes).
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, and add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and almond extract (if using).
- Beat the mixture together on medium-high speed until smooth (about 1 minute).
- Stir in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, until just barely combined (about 30 seconds).
- Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, smoothing it out into an even layer, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until set and slightly golden around the edges but still soft towards the center.
- Cool completely, then cover with cream cheese frosting.
To Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Place the butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and whip on medium-high speed until smooth.
- Stir in the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until fully incorporated.
- Turn the mixer up to high speed and whip the frosting until fluffy and stiff (about 1 to 2 minutes).
- Frost the sugar cookie bars with the cream cheese icing, garnish with sprinkles, and cut into bars.