These sugar cookie bars are a game changer! All the deliciousness of a sugar cookie, but without all the cookie cutters. These are the very best sugar cookie bars I have ever had. They are unique with their 3 extracts and the combination of butter and shortening. Making a buttery, soft and delicious treat.

St. Patricks Sugar Cookie Bars being served.

The Chemistry of Sugar Cookie Bars

The magic in these lie in the balance of ingredients and the chemistry of baking. The creaming of butter, shortening, and sugar introduces air into the batter, making the bars light and tender. Eggs and yolks add richness and help bind the mixture, while the combination of baking powder and cornstarch ensures a perfect rise and fine crumb. The frosting, a blend of cream cheese, butter and extracts, not only adds a creamy layer of flavor but also complements the texture of the bar, creating a harmonious bite every time.

What makes sugar cookie bars different from regular cookies?

The primary difference lies in the form and convenience. Bars are quicker to prepare, easier to serve, and offer the same delightful taste as traditional sugar cookies.

Can you customize the frosting on these?

Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different extracts or food colorings to create a frosting that suits your taste and occasion. Remember to add the sprinkles.

St. Patricks Sugar Cookie Bars on a plate.

Best way to store these?

Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerate for up to a week.

Can you freeze these?

Yes, they freeze well. Store them in an airtight container and freeze for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

St. Patricks Sugar Cookie Bars being served.

How to cream your butter & sugar

First, combine your butter & sugar in a standing mixer. Then, turn the mixer on high for 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl every 30 seconds. When the mixture is creamed it will be lighter in color and texture. Here is a visual example of how the ingredients look when just combined vs. creamed:

Butter and sugar just combined
Butter and sugar creamed

What is in Sugar Cookie Bars?

Unsalted Butter

It is always important to use unsalted butter when baking. If you use salted butter, you have no way of knowing how much salt you are adding to your dough or batter and it will result in an overly salted treat.

Butter adds fats to your dough or batter which helps with moistness, flavor and texture. Butter melts at body temperature, which creates a ‘melt in your mouth’ sensation.

When baking with butter the temperature is important. If the butter is too warm your treat will melt down too fast and overspread in the oven, leaving you with a greasy, flat mess. If your butter is too cold it will have the opposite problem and not melt down enough, leaving your treat too thick.

Shortening

Being 100% fat, it provides a flakier texture and prevents spreading because it does not melt down in the oven.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Almond Extract

Adds a unique sweet and nutty flavor to your dough.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

Egg Yolks

Adding extra egg yolks to your batter will add extra richness and chewiness to your cookie or brownie.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Baking Powder

Puffs up your batter or dough instead of spreading it out. Baking powder contains a little bit of baking soda, an acid & cornstarch. Because of this, it only needs a liquid to react. It also consists of two different acids, so it’s double reacting. It reacts as soon as it’s mixed with a moisture and then again when it’s heated up.

Cornstarch

Helps create a crumbly tender texture to toppings. Softens cookies, brownies and cakes. And it can also thicken sauces and fillings.

All-purpose Flour

Builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It’s exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Cream cheese

Provides a unique, tangy flavor. When baked it adds moisture to your treat.

Unsalted butter

Often the main ingredient of frosting, it adds structure to your buttercream. It also adds a smooth and velvety texture. Butter melts at body temperature, so it will make your frosting have a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

Powdered Sugar

Is just finely ground granulated sugar. It will absorb moisture in your batter or dough. It dissolves easily, ensuring a smooth texture without grittiness. Because it is so fine, it can melt quickly in the oven and spread cookies out more. Powdered sugar also stabilizes and thickens the frosting, thanks to the small amount of cornstarch it contains.

Coconut Extract

Adds a sweet tropical flavor to your treats.

St. Patricks Sugar Cookie Bars being served.

Storage Tips

Store in an airtight container for 3 days for peak freshness. Refrigerate them for up to 1 week. Freeze them for up to 1 month. Thaw the cookies at room temperature before enjoying.

Making Ahead

These a great make-ahead option for busy days. Bake the bars in advance and frost them on the day of serving for the best texture and flavor.

St. Patricks Sugar Cookie Bars being served.

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Sugar Cookie Bars

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 20
All the yumminess of a sugar cookie, but in convenient bar form!

Ingredients 

Bars

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Bars

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • In a standing mixer cream your butter, shortening and sugar together until lighter in color and texture. This takes about 2 full minutes of whipping on high, scrapping down the bowl down every 30 seconds.
  • Add the extracts and stir until combined
  • Add the eggs and egg yolks, stir until just combined
  • In a separate bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt
  • Turn the standing mixer on low, slowly pour the dry ingredients in. As soon as the cookie dough comes together, stop the mixer.
  • Pour the dough into a greased 9×13 pan or a 12×12 Candy Pan
  • Flatten the dough into the pan with a small roller or your hands
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting

  • In a standing mixer, add the cream cheese and butter. Mix on low until the two are combined and slightly softened.
  • Add the sugar and extracts, mix on low until the frosting is combined.
  • Slowly increase the speed until your mixer is on high. Whip the frosting on high for 1-2 minutes until lighter in color and texture.
  • Add food coloring if you desire.
  • Scoop the frosting out on top of the cooled bars and spread until its in an even layer.
  • Cut and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 520kcal Carbohydrates: 63g Protein: 4g Fat: 29g Saturated Fat: 15g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Monounsaturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 90mg Sodium: 107mg Potassium: 53mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 45g Vitamin A: 698IU Calcium: 42mg Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

St. Patricks Sugar Cookie Bars being served.