simple sugar cookie bars.

i have a confession. i am a big proponent for any and all things crumbly. coffee cake, crumb cake, butter cookies, fruit crisps, and any other dessert that is unequivocally a total and complete mess to eat.

in a related story, i’m also hopelessly in love with sugar cookies, a cookie desperately in need of some good PR. vilified as beige, boring and bland, sugar cookies are absolutely exquisite when prepared and baked properly. trust me, there’s a big difference between the firm crumb of a finely-made sugar cookie and the dusty, brittle texture of one you’d find in say, a nursing home.

imagine if you will, a gigantic, vanilla-scented sugar cookie sheet, baked until golden brown. when you’re baking one huge cookie versus tiny individual ones, the chances of completely drying out the dough while baking are slim to none, especially when the recipe you use is essentially foolproof. when topped with a rich, creamy frosting and haphazardly decorated with sprinkles…that, my friends, is a game changer.

suffice to say, these are not your grandma’s sugar cookies. don’t tell her i said so, though.

sugar cookie bars

adapted from beantown baker

yields 30 2” squares

i know what you’re thinking, “2 inch squares? doesn’t this girl understand that i have a sweet tooth?” trust me, these are so unbelievably rich and satisfying that a tiny square goes a long way in terms of dessert payoff!

special equipment necessary
a small cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. the one i used was 15” x 10” x 1”.

for the cookie bar

what you’ll do

preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

place the butter and sugar in a bowl, and make sure to save the butter wrappers. cream butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. this should take about 3 minutes. for some reason, this is always my favorite step in baking, probably because i’m a total weirdo that loves sneaking a little bit of recently fluffed, sugary butter to taste. but that’s our little secret.

once the butter and sugar are light, fluffy and pale in color, add the eggs, one at a time. make sure each egg is incorporated into the mixture before adding the next. add the vanilla and mix well.

in a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together to incorporate and work out any lumps.

add the dry ingredients to the wet slowly, otherwise both you and your kitchen will be covered in flour. mix until just combined.

if you have parchment paper, wonderful; now is the time to line your pan with it. if not, using the butter wrappers you saved from earlier, rub all over the baking sheet, buttered side down. once all nooks and crannies are sufficiently coated, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of flour into the cookie sheet and, while standing over the sink, tap the flour all over the sheet until totally coated. turn the pan upside down, and tap out the excess flour.

spread the dough into the pan, and press it into an even layer. i find that wetting my hands slightly with cold water keeps them from sticking to the dough.

give the pan a good rap against the countertop to get out any air bubbles or pockets, and place onto the middle rack of the oven.

bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and gorgeous, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out nice and clean.

cool completely, and then de-pan onto a large cutting board or work surface. it’s time to frost!

for the frosting

what you’ll do

whip the butter and shortening together until very smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. i used the whisk attachment on my mixer for this.

add the vanilla and salt, and begin adding the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time unless you’d really like to wear it. once all of the sugar is incorporated, add the heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting reaches a smooth, spreadable consistency. add your food coloring of choice, and mix until incorporated.

spread the frosting over the cooled giant cookie so the top is completely covered. this sugar cookie bar is all about looking genuine, homemade, and totally approachable, so we’re not going for pinpoint accuracy and perfection here. add a liberal smattering of sprinkles, and cut into squares.

i was able to get 30 two-inch squares out of my giant cookie, but if you want to make your bars bigger, be my guest!

the cookies will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days at room temperature…if they last that long.

serve with a tall glass of milk, if you happen to be into that sort of thing. these sugar cookie bars are so sweetly simplistic, but at the same time their flavor is complex and nuanced. they’re easy to prepare, and even easier to love…that’s what i call sugar cookie redemption.

sugar cookie bars

adapted from beantown baker

yields 30 2” squares

Ingredients:

for the cookie
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (i leave mine out overnight)

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
5 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

for the frosting
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup shortening

1 tablespoon pure vanilla
 extract
pinch of salt

4 cups powdered sugar

4-5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

food coloring (optional)

Directions:

for the cookie

preheat oven to 375 degrees.

place the butter and sugar in a bowl. make sure to save the butter wrappers!

cream butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

once the butter and sugar are light, fluffy and pale in color, add the eggs, one at a time. make sure each egg is incorporated into the mixture before adding the next.

add the vanilla and mix well.

in a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together.

add the dry ingredients to the wet slowly, otherwise both you and your kitchen will be covered in flour. mix until just combined.

if you have parchment paper, wonderful; now is the time to line your pan with it.

if not, using the butter wrappers you saved from earlier, rub all over the baking sheet, buttered side down.

once all nooks and crannies are sufficiently coated, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of flour into the cookie sheet and, while standing over the sink, tap the flour all over the sheet until totally coated. turn the pan upside down, and tap out the excess flour.

spread the dough into the pan, and press it into an even layer. wet hands slightly with cold water keeps them from sticking to the dough.

give the pan a good rap against the countertop to get out any air bubbles, and place onto the middle rack of the oven.

bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and gorgeous, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out nice and clean.

cool completely, and then de-pan onto a large cutting board or work surface.

for the frosting

using the whisk attachment on your mixer, whip the butter and shortening together until very smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.

add the vanilla and salt, and begin adding the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.

once all of the sugar is incorporated, add the heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting reaches a smooth, spreadable consistency.

add your food coloring of choice, and mix until incorporated.

spread the frosting over the cooled giant cookie so the top is completely covered.

add a liberal smattering of sprinkles, and let the frosting set up, about 30 minutes.

using a sharp knife, cut into squares.

store in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 5 days.

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5 Responses to “simple sugar cookie bars.”

  1. #
    1
    rachel — June 17, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    hey jac

    your website looks GREAT! i love it! now just one question…

    for someone who happens to be living in a country that hates shortening (i cannot find it ANYWHERE)… do you have any suggestions for viable substitutes so i can put these in my mouth now?

    let me know if you ever need any suggestions for recipes with a spanish flair… i’ve been doing quite a bit of cooking recently and have some ideas.

    thanks and keep writing, i’ve got a recipe book i need to start filling!

    talk to you soon,

    rach

  2. #
    2
    Heather — October 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    You’re blog is great! You’ve really got something good going here. I’d definitely trying the cookie bars and roast chicken.

    @knittytwoshoes

  3. #
    3
    Laura @MOMables — October 18, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Oh I love this for my daughter’s “smurf” party!!!! thank you

  4. #
    4
    Katie O'Dowd — December 22, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I loved this recipe! I used it for a Christmas party and it was a hit.

  5. #
    5
    Pitcairn — September 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Having read this I believed it was extremely informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

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