Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sugar Cookie Bars

I have been wanting to make these bars ever since I first saw them on And Now For Something Completely Delicious. This recipe takes something incredibly delicious (frosted sugar cookies, duh!) and makes them incredibly easy to make (by turning them into bars). There's no waiting for the dough to chill in the refrigerator. No rolling the dough out and inevitably having it get stuck to the countertop. No cutting out cute little shapes that aren't so cute after they tear when you're trying to transport them to the pan. No waiting for batch after batch of cookies to bake and cool before you can frost them.

This is not to say that I don't enjoy this process from time to time; you can definitely look forward to adorable shaped and frosted sugar cookies around Christmastime. But on a Wednesday? Sugar cookie bars are the way to go.

I don't have much to say about these bars except that they are delicious. And addicting. And completely adorable when topped with pink frosting and rainbow nonpareils. Fact: the frosting will coat your mouth with butter, the taste of which will linger for several hours. Don't worry, I think you can handle it.

I didn't realize until I was in the middle of making the dough that I only had about 1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract left, so I ended up having to substitute 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. The frosting also called for 1 tablespoon of vanilla, which I substituted with only 2 teaspoons of almond. . . because that was all I had left. Whoops. (This is probably why the butter flavor was so prominent in the frosting). The almond was actually very good, but I definitely want to try this recipe again with vanilla!

Sugar Cookie Bars
Adapted from And Now For Something Completely Delicious
Yield: 24 bars

For the cookie dough:

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting:

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4-5 tablespoons milk
Pinch of salt


1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease a 13x18-inch sheet pan or two 9x13-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. In an electric mixture, cream the butter for about one minute. Gradually add the sugar to the butter and cream together until light and fluffy.

3. Lightly whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Gradually add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla.

4. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.

5. Press the cookie dough into the pan(s). To spread the dough evenly, coat your fingertips with cooking spray and gently press the dough toward the edges of the pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

6. For the frosting: Cream together the shortening and butter. Mix in the vanilla and slat. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing after each addition. Cream together on medium-high for about a minute. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting reaches a light, spreadable consistency.

7. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cookies. Slice into bars.

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