These sugar cookies bars are inspired by Simple Sugar Cookie Bars! I decided to add a buttercream frosting and let me tell you, they are incredible! Honestly one of my top 5 desserts that I’ve created. All you need is one bowl and it’ like one giant frosted sugar cookie! They look like a Valentine’s Day dessert, but I really made these ones for Thomas & I’s anniversary!
What are sugar cookie bars?
Basically a sugar cookie but in a bar form! The slices are thick, yet soft and chewy, and a little crispy on the outer edges. Perfect in every way in my opinion. Slathered with a thick and dreamy buttercream frosting. Color of your choice! And finished off with some cute sprinkles because life is more fun that way. I added a little almond extract in the sugar cookie bars for that sugar cookie flavor, and trust me, you do NOT want to skip it!
What you need to make sugar cookie bars + substitutions:
For the Cookies:
- Unsalted butter- You can use salted as well but I always go for unsalted in baking. If you use salted, just decrease the salt in the recipe to 1/2 tsp instead of 1 tsp. Make sure the butter is at room temperature, it makes a huge difference!
- Brown sugar- Brown sugar gives it that caramel note and adds the perfect sweetness as well as giving them that deep rich brown color.
- Granulated sugar- A classic in any recipe. You can use white sugar, cane sugar, whatever you prefer. I haven’t tested coconut sugar.
- Eggs- Eggs help bind a recipe and really help give it taste and texture. Make sure these are room temperature as well (on the counter for at least an hour) to help the recipe bind together better. I don’t know if flax eggs would work as an alternative.
- Vanilla extract- No baked good recipe is complete without vanilla extract in my opinion. It’s key!
- Almond extract- If you don’t have this, you must buy it. I’m telling you it really takes these to a whole new level and gives such a good flavor to the bars that are unforgettable. Don’t skip it!
- All-purpose flour- I typically bake with all-purpose flour. Almond and coconut flour do not have the same measurements so they will not work in this recipe. However, gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flour should work just fine. Make sure to find one with xantham gum, I love Bob’s Red Mill, but any should do.
- Baking soda- Helps to produce a light and fluffy and perfectly cooked cookie bar.
- Sea salt- Salt is key in a baked good, because it really helps to bring out the flavor!
For the Icing:
- Unsalted butter- You can use both unsalted or salted. Either should work fine. Make sure your butter is room temperature for the perfect creaminess.
- Powdered sugar- This is what makes frosting so delicious! I learned recently that if you don’t have powdered on hand, you can blend up granulated until powdered. Here’s how to do it!
- Heavy cream- Heavy cream will make it ultra creamy, but you can substitute with whole milk or half and half if needed.
- Food coloring- I love these gel food colorings, but I also bake a lot and bought them when I was selling cookie cakes so I needed a lot. You can use any kind and any color. I chose pink because I love it and I’m the only girl in the house haha!
- Pinch of sea salt- Helps to bring out the flavor! You can omit if you do salted butter.
Tips for making the sugar cookie bars:
- Make sure to cover the bars around 30 minutes with foil. This is because they start to brown pretty early. You want to make sure they don’t burn so by covering them with foil, the inside will be able to cook without the outsides burning so they can cook through completely.
- Let them cool completely before icing. You want to make sure the bars are completely cooled before adding the frosting. If you don’t the bars will start to melt the frosting and things will get messy.
- To get a more defined line in the icing. Make sure to store the bars in the fridge for about 30 minutes – 1 hour before cutting into them. This will give you a more solid icing line!
Alright, that’s all, let’s get to making them! ENJOY!
Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
- 9×9 square baking pan
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
For the Sugar Cookie Bars:
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
For the Buttercream Frosting:
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp heavy cream
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
- pink food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- Spray a 9x9in square baking pan (or any similar size, 8×8 is too small) with oil or butter.
- In a large bowl or standing mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Once combined, add in the eggs, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Add in the flour, baking soda, sea salt and mix until everything is incorporated.
- Press dough into your greased pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes. You want the center done, but still soft.
- At 30 minutes, take a piece of aluminum foil and gently fold over the pan. This helps prevent the bars from getting too brown.
- Let cool completely. While cooling, prepare the icing.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, sea salt, and heavy cream (1 tbsp at a time). Start with 1 tbsp of heavy cream and depending on thickness, add another if needed. Add in food coloring until desired color.
- Ice the top of the bars and add sprinkles. To make slicing more clean, refrigerate the bars first for about 30 minutes- 1 hour before cutting. It hardens the icing and makes it easier to cut!