sugar cookie bars with buttercream frosting
To be completely honest I only bake sugar cookies every Christmas Eve when my entire family gets together to bake our traditional Christmas cookies. While sugar cookies are beautiful and can be fun to make they are also a lot of work which means baking a batch doesn't really fit into my schedule most of the time. That is why I love this sugar cookie bar recipe. It is quick and easy to make. Plus with all of the sprinkles this recipe calls for and a thick layer of vanilla buttercream (that I of course make pink) this bars are adorable. I made these bars a couple weekends ago when I was having visitors for the weekend and they were a huge hit.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sprinkles (you should use jimmies)
Ingredients for Buttercream Frosting:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 and 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
salt, a pinch
optional: food color and sprinkles to decorate
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure to leave enough overhang on the sides. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl using a mixer, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Once the butter is smooth add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. The dough will be thick. Once combined, gently fold in 1/2 cup sprinkles using a rubber spatula.
4. Press the cookie dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-26 minutes or until very lightly browned on top. You want the cookie bars to be extra soft, so careful not to overbake. Allow the bars to cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature before frosting. The center will slightly sink.
5. Make the frosting: With a mixer fitted, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add confectioners' sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. Beat in food coloring.
6. Remove cooled bars from the baking pan using the aluminum foil overhang on the sides. Frost the bars with a thick layer of frosting and decorate with extra sprinkles if desired. Cut into squares. Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator up to 5.