Sugar Cookie Bars

I’ve never been one to think decorated sugar cookies were too complicated or time-consuming.  None of the steps take all that long and anyway, they are fun to make!  But for those that need a quick, low maintenance sugar cookie, look no further.  These are even easier than drop cookies because you just press the dough into a pan, bake, frost, slice and serve.  You get the taste of a sugar cookie without all the fuss.  This makes a huge quantity of cookies (depending of course on what size you cut them).  I did think they were a little lacking in flavor as written, but the recipe is a great base for adding whatever flavoring suits your taste.  Next time I’ll definitely add lemon zest and vanilla bean and have indicated this below, but orange or almond extract would also be wonderful.  Same goes for the frosting – this one is fine, but feel free to use your favorite.  Whatever floats your boat!

Also, a quick announcement – the winner of the Chocomize giveaway is…….
Erica, who said her customized chocolate bar would include: “…dark chocolate with Oreos, peanut M&M’s, and…maybe those candy orange slices?  Yum!”

Congratulations, Erica and thanks to everyone who entered!  Don’t forget that even if you didn’t win, you can still receive 10% off your Chocomize purchase with the coupon code annieseats.

Sugar Cookie Bars
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Yield: about 4 dozen bars

For the cookie bars:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Zest from 1 lemon
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda

For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
5 tbsp. milk
Food coloring (optional)

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.   Grease a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet (mine was 12 x 17″).  Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla, seeds from the vanilla bean, and lemon zest.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda.  Stir together with a fork to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and beat on low speed just until incorporated.

Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet and press into an even layer.  Bake 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Blend in the vanilla, salt, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the milk.  Tint as desired with food coloring.  Spread over the cookie in the pan, cut into bars and serve.

Source: adapted from The Repressed Pastry Chef

48 Responses

  1. I’ve always loved sugar cookies. Their simplicity brings me back to when I was a kid and could only make chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies with my grandma. These bars look just as simple, and I love it!

  2. I keep seeing these bars on all sort of food blogs so I decided to try them out. I made mine in a 13 x 18 pan and wouldn’t recommend it. The center bars weren’t cooked and the outer edge was really dry. Next time I’ll divide the recipe in half and make them in a 9 x13 pan.

  3. These look lovely!

    Did you ever pick a winner for the chocolate bar contest? I never saw a winner, so I was just curious.

  4. I love it!! I just made blondie bars yesterday, my son will love helping make these!! What 5 year old doesn’t love frosted anything.

  5. LOL! I did read it, but apparently skipped right past it. Sorry!

  6. I’ve had these on my “MUST BAKE” list for awhile now….they look so good and so easy.

    Beautiful picture!!

  7. Very sweet and lovely sugar cookies Bars!

  8. Love the purple and they look wonderful!

  9. Pretty bars! I love baking bars, they are easier than cookies!

  10. Your picture is beautiful! However, I made this recipe a few weeks ago and decided against blogging about them since I didn’t like them at all. I thought they were kind of dry and just really “blah”. But maybe with a few changes they would be better.

  11. These look like they would be awesome to bring to the office. Easy and quick, but still yummy! I love frosted sugar cookies! The frosting to cookie ratio looks pretty perfect in your picture!

  12. These really remind me of those sugar cookies topped with frosting they sell at the grocery store. They always look so delicious, but are way too sweet for me. These I’ll bet taste as awesome as they look! I like that you can cut them to any size you want, so you’re not stuck with giant cookies.

  13. I made these a couple weeks ago and added the zest of a lime to the sugar before creaming the butter and sugar together and I think it really made a difference in the flavor. I also used a different frosting recipe. Yours look really pretty. These were a crowd pleaser for me!

  14. Oh my gosh… I am soooo making these. They remind me of the snickerdoodle bars I make. So much easier!

  15. That is such a great idea! They look thick and delicious!

  16. I agree that making a decorating all the cut out is much cuter. But who can resist a sugar cookie of any size or shape? Plus, if you cut them in “miniature” squares there’s no calories in them right?

  17. My husband LOVES sugar cookies, so I am making these for him tonight! I had my 3rd reconstructive knee surgery a few weeks ago so I am going to bake it all from a bar stool with some help haha, I miss baking so bad, its usually a daily thing for me! Thanks for the wonderful post/ recipie. I just love your website!

  18. i can’t wait to try these!

  19. Your sugar cookies are the best I’ve seen around the blog-world! But these look delicious as well 🙂

  20. Perfect treat for summer picnics!

  21. Those look yummy! I love the colorful addition of the sprinkles on top 🙂

  22. I don’t know why but I cannot make cookies, with the exception of oatmeal and peanut butter. Every other kind I always burn/undercook/ruin in some way. So, these look wonderful and I can make cookies without actually making/destroying them 🙂

  23. These are so pretty!

  24. These are so cute! Our neighbors are moving away and with them, taking my son’s best friends. I think this would be perfect to make for them as part of a going away gift.

  25. These look awesome! I love thick sugar cookies.

  26. I love this recipe and really love the lilac colored frosting…so delicious.

  27. Adorable! And the slices are perfect. And the colors. I would love having one of those squares right now.

  28. I made these 2 days ago and they just didn’t do it for me or my kids. Now today…after they have mellowed and the flavors have had time to blend…I have to say these are good! I was expecting more of a cookie thickness but they are definitly a bar and I will be making them again. I had set aside a plate to take to a friend who is crazy about sugar cookies but I’m thinking of keeping them for our family now! Thanks for sharing the recipe! I can’t wait to make the mud pie next!

  29. Love that lavender-colored frosting. Beautiful job, Annie! These are so creative.

  30. This caught my eye so fast!!!! I am making them tomorrow for the fam.. ( more like, ME) LOL Thanks a bunch!

  31. These look so cute and delicious!

  32. How do you cut them so perfectly?

  33. do you think i could put lemon extract in it?

  34. thank u!

  35. Love your website

  36. I am right there with ya on the frosting and decorating of sugar cookies! This recipe is now on my “Make Now” List! Thanks for sharing!

  37. I saw this pic and recipe and I couldn’t stop thinking about these sugar cookie bars! What a great idea.
    I made some over the weekend and HOLY AMAZING! Thank you so much. I never thought to make sugar cookies in bar form and cutting out and decorating them is very time consuming.
    These are pretty and delicious!

  38. I made this recipe for the second time in one week…they are delcious and so easy to make! This has become a fast favorite in our house and will be made over and over again instead of my regular cut out cookies! Thanks:)

  39. Annie, we made these earlier this week and just loved them! And what I love even more was that they got better over the course of a couple days…yum!!

  40. Hi Annie! I made these last night for some visitors I’m having this weekend. I actually made just 1/4th of the recipe and found that it was the perfect amount for an 8×8 pan. I also added a little lemon zest to the frosting. I had a little taste and just wanted to say they were AMAZING! I think the lemon zest in both the cookie and the frosting was the perfect thing to cut the sweetness and really gave these cookies a depth of flavor. Thanks for the recipe and LOVE your blog! 😀

    Amanda (WannaBe Chef)

  41. […] Market, then settled in for an afternoon of baking!  We made s’mores cheesecake bars and sugar cookie bars, both from Annie’s Eats.  They were delicious; I haven’t been disappointed by an […]

  42. I made these tonight for a 4th of July get together. Your additions are spot on, Annie…these were outstanding. I also used a 12×17 pan and it worked out great. They were so easy to make, tasted just like sugar cookies, and made a big ol’ pan for a crowd. Will definitely make these again! Thanks for the recipe!

  43. Hi, i just made these and they weren’t cooked through all the way. Also the edges are very dry. i love sugar cookies, but i’m never successful at making them. Any suggestions?

    • Sounds like your oven temperature could be off. Other readers have made them successfully, so I’m not sure exactly what to tell you.

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