Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars combine an easy sugar cookie base with a buttery frosting. These are unbelievably moist and you’ll be hooked like we are. Try any color of frosting for a variety of occasions and top with all the sprinkles!
If you are a fan of sugar cookies, then you’ll be even a bigger fan of these sugar cookie bars. Extra soft with plenty of butter and a shorter baking time, all topped with a light and fluffy frosting. No chill time needed plus easier to bake!
These are so easy, and you can whip them up quickly for any occasion. Use different color food coloring for all the occasions – light blue (pictured) for Easter, red white and blue for the 4th, orange for Thanksgiving, green for Christmas, pink for Valentines Day, and on and on.
For the sugar cookie layer:
- Butter – I prefer to use unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.
- Sugar – A combo of brown sugar and granulated sugar.
- Egg – Just one egg, at room temp.
- Vanilla – I prefer the Watkin’s brand.
- Flour – All-purpose flour works best in these bars.
- Baking Soda – The leavener for these.
- Cream of Tartar – The spice that is always included in my sugar cookies!
- Salt – Kosher salt used.
For the frosting:
- Butter – Again, unsalted butter at room temp.
- Half and Half – Or you can use heavy cream or even 2% milk.
- Powdered Sugar – Two cups, or a bit more or less, depending on desired consistency.
How to make these bars:
- Prep oven and pan. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add parchment paper to an 8×8 pan (linked below) so you can easily left the bars out of the pan.
- Mix wet ingredients. In a large standing mixer, cream the butter and both sugars together until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix again.
- Mix dry ingredients. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and kosher salt.
- Combine. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix until just combined. Be careful to not over-mix.
- Press into pan. Then press the sugar cookie batter into the prepared pan, using your fingers to get it evenly distributed.
- Bake. Bake the bars for 22 – 24 minutes, or until the top is just browned. You’ll want to slightly under-bake these bars so they are nice and soft.
- Cool. Remove the bars from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes. Then carefully use the parchment paper to remove the sugar cookie bars to a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
- Make frosting. Use a hand mixer to whip the butter for about a minute. Then add the vanilla, half and half, and powdered sugar. Mix again for another minute or so. Add a couple drops of food coloring (optional) to the frosting and mix again.
- Spread frosting. Evenly spread the frosting on top of the cooled bars. Add sprinkles.
- Serve. Slice bars into 16 even squares, and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Why turn sugar cookies into bars? Making sugar cookie bars is quicker and easier than making cookies. They require no chill time in the refrigerator and are quicker to make because you bake only one pan.
- What is the difference between sugar cookies and shortbread cookies? The main difference between these two cookies is the ingredients and the ratios. Sugar cookies normally contain eggs, while shortbread cookies do not. Shortbread also has a higher ratio of butter to flour, resulting in a more crumbly cookie.
- Can I freeze these bars? You can freeze the sugar cookie bars BEFORE frosting them. Or you can freeze the dough and let thaw before pressing into pan to bake. Don’t freeze the frosting.
- How long do leftovers last? Leftover sugar cookie bars stay fresh on the counter for 3-4 days.
Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
For the cookie cake:
- 1 cup unsalted butter – softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg – at room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the frosting:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter – at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 Tablespoons half and half – or whole milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar – or to right consistency
For the cookies:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add parchment paper to an 8×8 pan (or you can use a 9-inch round springform pan for a "cake").
- In a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugars together. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix again.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients – the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Pour the dry into the wet, and mix until just combined. Don't over-mix.
- Press the cookie dough into the prepared pan. Spread it evenly to the edges of the pan.
- Bake the cookie for 22-24 minutes, or until the top just starts to get golden brown. It's ok to slightly under-bake this cookie cake. Remove to a cooling rack.
For the frosting:
- Make the frosting. Use a hand mixer to whip the butter for about a minute or so. Then add the vanilla, half and half, and powdered sugar. Mix very well.
- Add a couple drops of food coloring (optional) to the frosting and mix again. Add frosting to the cooled bars and spread evenly. Add sprinkles!
- Making sugar cookie bars is quicker and easier than making cookies. They require no chill time in the refrigerator and are quicker to make because you bake only one pan
- You can freeze the sugar cookie bars BEFORE frosting them. Or you can freeze the dough and let thaw before pressing into pan to bake. Don’t freeze the frosting.
- Leftover sugar cookie bars stay fresh on the counter for 3-4 days.