I love sugar cookies intensely. Sadly, I feel almost as intensely about my dislike of rolling out dough and cutting shapes and decorating individual cookies. I have three littles, so they’re either helping (or hindering) me, or I’m trying to get something done by myself as quickly as possible. Also, they have a thing for sprinkles and, not gonna lie, so do I.
Enter sugar cookies in bar form.
I first had these at my sisters’ houses, and was determined never to make them at home because I knew exactly how long they would last in my house if I made them (5 seconds). Obviously, that resolution lasted about 5 seconds itself. But with the first few recipes I tried there was something about them that just wasn’t exactly perfect. See, for these to replace sugar cookies, which I only make once a year at Christmas, they had to taste exactly like my Mom’s sugar cookies. It took me a few tries and much sacrifical sampling (yummm ;)) over the past few months, but I’m thrilled to say that these finally fit the bill perfectly.
The secret to these sugar cookie bars is a touch of almond extract in the dough, and the addition of icing sugar to make an incredibly soft, chewy bar, almost the texture of an under-baked bar. These stay soft and fresh in the fridge for a whole week, and they are a huge hit with both kids and adults. I’d take these over birthday cake any day, and the best part? They are SO easy to make!
I don’t know if I can say enough good things about these bars. Basically, if there’s good icing and some sprinkles on a perfect sugar cookie, and I can now make that in super-quick bar form, I am all over that. Also, every time I type “bar” my fingers first type “bra” – I don’t know what that means, but if you like either of the two (I like both a lot), I think you’ll like these
Have a great weekend, all!
- COOKIE BASE:
- ¾ cup butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar/icing sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 5 Tbsp butter, softened (1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp)
- 2½ cups powdered sugar/icing sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 3-3½ Tbsp milk or cream
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- With electric mixer, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond and beat for 2 minutes.
- Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until combined.
- Spray a 9x13" baking dish lightly with cooking spray. With slightly damp hands, press dough evenly into pan (if it starts sticking, run your hands under water for another half a second and keep going...the dough won't look completely smooth, some fingerprints are fine since the icing will cover it all!)
- Bake for 11-13 minutes - don't overbake! The bars will not brown, they should look just barely set in the middle. Put pan on wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- For frosting, cream the butter for a few seconds, then add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 3 Tbsp of milk and blend until smooth and fluffy. Add another half tablespoon of milk if necessary to achieve desired smoothness. Spread frosting evenly on cooled bars and immediately top with sprinkles, if using.
- Let icing set before slicing into squares. Store bars in the fridge.