What do you do when you want sugar cookies, but you don’t have time for all the rolling and cutting? You bake sugar cookie bars, complete with delicious whipped buttercream frosting.
This recipe comes from Brown Eyed Baker, another Pittsburgh baking blogger, and yields a delicious and very low-maintenance treat. If you think the frosting is going to be too much, trust me, it’s not. It’s a whipped vanilla buttercream, and it complements the bars perfectly. Fear not: this frosting is not that whipped cream frosting you get on grocery store cakes that nobody likes – it’s made with butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla, and is whipped for several minutes to a light and fluffy texture while maintaining delicious buttercream flavor. These were a huge hit at our family visit in Maryland this week!
For the bars
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the whipped vanilla buttercream
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Rainbow sprinkles, for decorating
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper (or lightly grease the pan).
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, beating to combine. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add flour mixture until just combined; I used my hands to finish the mixing to ensure there were no pockets of flour.
Press into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is very light golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the pan completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, use the whisk attachment to whip the butter in your mixer for 5-7 minutes, scraping the bowl a few times, until very smooth. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the powdered sugar, whipping to combine completely. Add the vanilla extract and continue whipping at medium-high speed for another 2-4 minutes, until frosting is very light and fluffy.
To frost: remove bars from pan and carefully peel off parchment, then return bars to the pan. Spread frosting in an even layer, then add sprinkles. Cut into 24 bars and store at room temperature for up to 3 days (bars will also last in the fridge up to 1 week).