Looking for an easy bar cookie for the holidays? These Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars will soon become a family favorite!
I cannot believe we’re already in the second week of December! How in the world did that happen so quickly?! I am constantly amazed that we have not entered a fast-forward time machine of sorts. It just flies by, which, let’s be honest – is what most of us are hoping for from 2020.
I wanted to share this super quick and EASY Christmas cookie-ish recipe with you today because I know we’re all short on time (and sometimes patience!) and this recipe solves both of those dilemmas for those days when you just can’t even handle cut-out sugar cookies, royal icing, and all the time needed to bake trays after trays of cookies.
I, for one, love how simple this recipe is and how it can be cut for a larger crowd. Plus, it is SO much less tedious to make one pan of sugar cookies than rolling, cutting, rerolling or even dropping cookie dough onto pans. Who has all this extra time? This is so much easier!
The base is a SUPER soft sugar cookie dough that gets baked until just barely kissed with a light golden brown color. By baking it just enough but not enough to totally brown, you’re rewarded with ultra tender and soft sugar cookies with a fluffy, moist crumb. The entire bar tastes like the center of a soft sugar cookie! Then I frost them with a simple vanilla buttercream I could make in my sleep.
While I LOVE regular sugar cookies, these are just such a cinch to whip up! I plan on making these in lieu of cut-outs this year and cutting the bars into smaller squares to spread among many Christmas treat trays. You could also bake and frost the bars and then use cookie cutters to cut out special shapes! That would be SO cute.
To really ramp up these Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars, I recommend using salted butter for extra flavor and adding in a little fresh lemon or orange zest or almond extract with the vanilla extract. It really elevates the flavor of these bars and gives it a little something special. Likewise, you could also beat in a few ounces of cream cheese to the frosting to add a tangy richness. And don’t feel like you have to garnish with sprinkles, although they’re plenty cute! You could also top with chopped nuts, dried cranberries, miniature seasonal M&M’s candies or crushed candy canes.
Whatever you do, you HAVE got to give these Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars a try!
*slightly adapted from here
Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars
These Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars make for a huge and delicious shortcut this holiday season! They taste like soft, tender sugar cookies but in a delicious bar!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract OR lemon/orange zest optional
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
For the Vanilla Buttercream:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream or milk
- 2¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
- Sprinkles for decoration if using
Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Line a 9×13 light metal rectangular baking pan with parchment or foil, extending the sides of the parchment or foil over the edges of the pan. Spray lightly with cooking spray; set aside.
For the cookies: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, followed by the vanilla extract and almond extract or citrus zest, if using.
Lastly, add in the baking powder, cornstarch, and flour and mix on low speed until just barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Spread the batter into the prepared pan in an even layer.
Bake for 14-16 minutes or until just barely browned. It will still look slightly underdone and very pale; this is normal and remember, it will continue finishing cooking in the hot pan outside of the oven. Cool completely, about 90 minutes.
For the vanilla buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and vanilla until whipped and combined, about 30 seconds. Alternate adding in the confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream, mixing well after each addition until frosting is light and fluffy.
Spread the frosting evenly over the sugar cookie bars; top with sprinkles, if using.
Sprinkles are optional and can be substituted with dried cranberries, chopped nuts, mini M&M’s or crushed candy canes.
Soft, chewy, buttery and tender sugar cookie goodness! I am in love with these easy bars!
Have a super sweet day!