Sugar Cookie Bars

by Amy on 27 February 2012

This month I participated in a fun blogger event — the secret recipe club. how does it work, you ask? Every participating blogger is secretly assigned another blog + chooses a recipe from that blog to make. On reveal day (today!), all of our posts go up at the same time, so everyone gets to see who was assigned to their blog, which recipe they chose, + how it turned out. Fun, huh?

This month, I was assigned to the blog frugal antics of a harried homemaker, + when I stumbled across her post on homemade sugar cookie bars, I knew I had to look no further – I had found the recipe that I wanted to make. so, how did they turn out? Absolutely, positively amazing. For real.

As some of you know, I’m frequently take-it-or-leave-it when it comes to sweets, but I was definitely all ‘take it’ when it came to these bars. The sugar cookie part is just sweet enough, with a wonderfully buttery flavor + a lovely, soft texture. The homemade buttercream frosting adds a brighter, richer sweetness, which pairs perfectly with both the flavor + texture of the cookie. Add a bit of pretty color to the frosting (I opted for pink) + some colorful sprinkles + BAM! A delicious, fun dessert.

These were a huge hit with everyone who tried ’em, + I honestly felt a bit gloomy when there were no more left to be eaten. I will definitely be making these quick, easy-to-make treats again soon – thanks to kristen at frugal antics + the secret recipe club for helping me find a new go-to dessert!

Sugar Cookie Bars

makes about 2 dozen bars (depending on how big you cut them), adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, and frugal antics of a harried homemaker


For the bars:
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened to cool room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk or cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkles (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the butter, granulated sugar and powdered sugar at a medium speed until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix for 1-2 minutes more. Stir in the lemon zest, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until just combined – do not overmix.

Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Press and/or spread the sugar cookie mixture gently into an even layer into the bottom of the pan. (Amy’s note: your hands are the best tool to easily press the dough into the pan, if you don’t mind getting a little messy).

Bake for 10-13 minutes. Don’t overbake! The bars shouldn’t have any color around the edges and barely be set in the middle. Let the bars cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, using a stand mixer, beat together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add in the vanilla extract and mix. Add the milk or cream and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add the optional food coloring, if desired.

Frost the cooled bars with the frosting, using an offset spatula, and top with sprinkles, if desired. Cut into bars — 18, 24, or more, depending on how big you want them, and serve! These bars are quite rich, so smaller squares may be preferable.

*Amy’s note: These were even softer + more delicious after being stored in an airtight container/tupperware overnight. I recommend making them one day before you want to eat ’em, storing them overnight, then serving them the next day. They’ll keep for about a week in an airtight container, but they definitely won’t last that long!

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{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

51 Erin February 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm

These look great! And I love the idea of making the sugar cookies into bars :) Not that it’s difficult scooping the cookie dough… but one less step makes it quicker and easier. They are absolutely adorable.

52 amy February 28, 2012 at 6:15 am

i couldn’t agree more! while making cookies isn’t difficult, i’m never going to pass up a recipe that makes it one step easier! =)

53 Jen @ Juanita's Cocina February 28, 2012 at 6:38 am

Ummm, escuse me?

Pink AND sweet?

I’m sold! Pinned for making ASAP!

54 Lesley Eats February 28, 2012 at 8:50 am

Those are so pretty!

55 Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray February 28, 2012 at 9:09 am

Ohhh yum. As if cookie bars weren’t already delicious enough, slather on some of that frosting! :)

56 Caroline @ chocolate & carrots February 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I can see why you ‘took it’! These look incredible! The perfect sweet treat. I’ll take two! 😉

57 amy February 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm

if i had planned better, i would’ve made some + brought ’em to our coffee date earlier in the week. next time i’ll do that for sure!

58 Rachel @ The Avid Appetite February 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm these look amazing! I want one right now! I am bookmarking this one…I’ve got to find a party to make them for!

59 Leah | So, How's It Taste? February 28, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I’m not a huge fan of sugar cookies, but those look heavenly. I also like your note about how they get softer overnight. I think I’d really enjoy them that way. You could easily change the icing color too for any fun occasion!

60 amy February 28, 2012 at 6:59 pm

i’m actually not a huge fan of regular sugar cookies either, but i loooved these so i bet you would, too! next time we have a food blogger meetup, i’ll make a batch so you can try ’em! =)

61 Velva February 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm

This looks fabulous. I think it would be perfect for Spring. I really enjoy the soft texture of a cookie. I just need a cup of coffee and couple these cookies. My day would be set.


62 natalie@thesweetslife February 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm

i made these awhile ago and LOVED them. yours look so pretty on that plate! :)

63 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts February 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I have wanted to try these forever! They look just as good now as they did when I first saw them. Gorgeous pictures, and great pick for SRC!

64 amy February 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm

thanks so much, erin – you’ll definitely have to give ’em a try soon. i think you’ll love ’em!

65 Christy February 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm

This almost screams diabetic sweet!:P But it’s just so adorable it can be forgiven…hehe :)
I definitely do not qualify for the secret recipe club; as I just am not good with the kitchen, but it doesn’t matter, knowing and reading blogs like yours is a good way to feel the experience!:D

66 amy February 29, 2012 at 6:19 am

aww, you’re so sweet, christy – thanks for your kind words!

67 Blond Duck February 29, 2012 at 7:08 am

I go for bars over cookies any day… LOVE the pink frosting and sprinkles.

68 Jessica @ Cajunlicious February 29, 2012 at 11:18 am

amy these look so good, I love sugar cookies!

69 Kathryn February 29, 2012 at 11:38 am

Love the idea of transforming sugar cookies into bars. And they look so adorable with that pink frosting.

70 Julie @ Table for Two February 29, 2012 at 11:40 am

I love this! I really like that they get softer overnight. I’m not a fan of crunchy sugar cookies. I love the fluffy soft kind and this looks awesome. I like that it’s not a regular cookie but in bar form! I can easily change up the color of the frosting too..for say, another baby shower haha 😉

71 amy February 29, 2012 at 11:50 am

i’m with ya – i don’t like crunchy sugar cookies (or really, most crunchy cookies), so i wasn’t sure if i was going to like these. fortunately, they were wonderfully soft + i loved ’em!

72 Julie at Burnt Carrots February 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Seriously, these look like little bites of heaven! They totally remind me of the sugar cookies with pink frosting and sprinkles that you can buy in the store. I’m def making these once lent is over!

73 amy February 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm

julie, they are totally reminiscent of those cookies, both in the texture + the frosting, but tastier!

74 Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) February 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Yay…I’m so glad you’re in SRC. So you’re in Group D? I’m in Group C! It’s such a fun thing to take part in…one of my favorite blogging events for sure! These cookie bars look AMAZING!!

75 amy February 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

yup, i’m a group D’er! i’ve only participated in it twice so far, but have loved it both times. such a fun event!

76 Blond Duck March 1, 2012 at 5:33 am

I’m trying these bars today!

77 amy March 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

awesome – let me know how they turn out!

78 Steve @ the black peppercorn March 1, 2012 at 8:46 am

these look awesome! If they taste like a sugar cookie then I am in for 5 please!

79 Barbara @ Barbara Bakes March 1, 2012 at 8:59 am

Love your perfectly cut squares and the cute sprinkles on top. They do look irresistible.

80 Renee - Kudos Kitchen March 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Congratulations to you have having the most popular post for group D this month! I can absolutely see why. These sugar cookie bars look so pretty. I’m not an avid sweets eater either but the way you described these cookie bars make them sound very appealing. Nicely done!

81 amy March 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

thanks so much, renee – i appreciate your kind words!

82 Asmita March 3, 2012 at 9:31 am

Hi Amy,
These are so cute and must taste yummy!!!

83 Judy March 4, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Great idea to make a sugar cookie into a bar. They look yummy.

84 Megan @ Culinary Chops March 5, 2012 at 10:11 am

the secret blogger event sounds soooooooooo fun! I must, must, MUST try it the next go around. And who doesn’t love a good sugar cookie (especially when you add to the sugar factor by adding icing). It’s a diabetic’s dream come true!

Great post! and I love that plate you shot the cookies on….reminds me of my mother’s wedding china!

85 amy March 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm

thanks so much, megan! coincidentally, the plate is from a set we received for a wedding gift, too. i always think they’re so pretty, especially to showcase sweets. =)

86 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking March 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm

What a fabulous recipe and a beautiful photo to accompany it! These sugar cookie bars look delicious, Amy. Great job on them!

87 EA-The Spicy RD March 5, 2012 at 11:32 pm

These look so delicious Amy, and perfect for a special treat! The Secret Recipe Club sounds like alot of fun. Hope you have a wonderful week!

88 kelli- AdventurezInChildRearing March 6, 2012 at 11:23 am

Oh what fun! I’d love it if you’d link this one up to our Kids in the Kitchen Link up – open all week beginning on Tuesdays – It’s new but going well – we are encouraging families to get back to the table together and to get the kiddos in the kitchen!

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