I am all about a soft pillowy cookie, so it is no surprise that I had to make (and can’t seem to stop making), these frosted sugar cookie bars. With a dense, yet incredibly soft center, and a fluffy whipped frosting, these bars are truly addictive. I decorated these bars to the max with pink and white sprinkles in honor of Valentine’s Day, but these bars are what I like to call, “holiday adaptable“.
These frosted sugar cookie bars are just delightful, but I did not invent them. This recipe is from The New York Times, who actually adapted these heavenly cookies from “American Girl Cookies“. This is funny in so many ways. But in all honesty, I was a fan from day one. I have modified the Times recipe slightly, but the original one can be seen here.
This fool-proof recipe channels everything there is to love about a wonderful sugar cookie but brings them to you in the form of a bar cookie. Topped with a pale pink frosting, festive heart shaped sprinkles and you have the perfect treat for your someone special.
Aluminum vs. Glass Baking Pans
Many people ask if the material of the baking pan matters or not when baking something like a cookie bar. And the truth is, yes, it does. Aluminum is a very good heat conductor, which means baked goods will brown evenly. Glass bakeware, in comparison, is both heavier than aluminum and more expensive. And because glass is an insulator, it’s actually slow to heat. But once hot, glass retains heat for such a long time it can actully result in uneven baking.
Now, a tip, once you make these outrageously delicious cookie bars, be sure to save the recipe. These bars are so easy you will absolutely want to make them again for all those warm-weather holidays headed our way, from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July, these bars may just become your new go-to.
Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
- For the Cookie Bar:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- For the Frosting:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups Confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tablespoon milk, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- A drop or two of red gel food coloring (optional)
- Assorted sprinkles, for decorating (optional)
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, running it up the two long sides of the pan and letting it extend past the rim by about 2 inches. Set aside.
- Step 2 For the bars: In a medium bowl, add the flour and salt, whisk blend. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and cream cheese and beat on medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing on low speed just until blended.
- Step 3 Using a spatula, scrape the dough into the prepared baking pan and spread it into an even layer. Bake just until the edges are starting to turn light golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the middle has moist crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes. (Do not over-bake. The bars should be moist, and slightly underbaked in the middle.) Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Let cool completely. When cooled, remove the bars from the pan using the overhanging parchment paper.
- Step 4 For the frosting: Place the butter in the bowl of the kitchen mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, beating on low speed until fully combined, then repeat with remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Next, add 1 tablespoon milk (or cream), the vanilla, salt and food coloring, if using, and beat on medium speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides halfway through, about 4 minutes. Add more milk if needed to thin out the mixture. Add additional vanilla to taste.
- Step 5 Using a spatula, spread the frosting on top, then decorate with sprinkles, if using. Cut into 20 bars and serve.