These sugar cookie bars are soft, flavorsome, with a light chew. They’re super cute and a ton of fun to make, decorate, and eat!
We use a few key pantry-staple ingredients to make these sugar cookie bars. I am sure that you will have all or most of the ingredients already available in your kitchen!
- Flour – Use all–purpose flour or white whole wheat flour. It does not matter if you use bleached or unbleached flour.
- Cornstarch – Cornstarch is known to help thicken and add body to sauces, gravy, and even pie fillings. It does the same in the cookie dough in that it helps to keep the cookie dough nice and puffed to make it light and delicious. You can substitute it with arrowroot starch
- Sugar – We use granulated sugar in the cookie and powdered sugar in the frosting. I do not recommend using brown sugars or an alternative sugar substitute.
- Butter – Unsalted butter adds richness and tenderness as well as flavor. I do not recommend using margarine in this recipe.
- Cream Cheese – Cream cheese adds tenderness, tang, and moisture to the cookie, and adds flavor to the frosting. For the best texture, use full-fat block cream cheese.
- Egg – The eggs act as a binding agent, but also add moisture, tenderness, and chew.
- Leavening – Just a bit of leavening is used to keep the cookie from being dense.
- Vanilla – I love vanilla, and add it to just about everything. It is the main flavor of our cookies and in the frosting. I recommend using a pure vanilla extract.
- Salt – Using salt is so important in baking. It is the secret ingredient to really bring out and enhance flavors. It also acts to temper down the sweetness of frosting which is why we use it in both elements. I use fine sea salt, and recommend you do the same.
And of course, sprinkles. All the sprinkles you can handle! I made my own sprinkles for this recipe, and you can find the recipe for homemade sprinkles here.
Make sure you use real butter in this recipe. It does not translate well with most margarine brands, and I do not have an exhaustive list of brands that would and would not work with this recipe. I recommend sticking to using real unsalted softened butter.
Use full-fat block cream cheese. Low-fat versions have a higher water content that disrupts the balance of ingredients in the cookie and creates a watery frosting.
Yes! Add in about two tablespoons of lemon zest when you are beating the butter and sugar together, plus add about a tablespoon of lemon juice to when you are beating in the eggs. You can also use these sugar cookie bars as a base for lemon bars – just keep in mind it will be a thick cookie base!
Yes! You can bake the cookies in two separate 9×13 baking pans, or you can use a half sheet pan – just understand that it will require a shorter baking time.
This recipe stores incredibly well, which is why I absolutely love it. In fact, letting the dough chill only allows the flavors to truly develop.
If you do not plan on baking this recipe immediately, you can store it for later. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days, or frozen for up to a month.
When storing, wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap, then store in an airtight container.
You can also store the baked cookies once you allow it to cool to room temperature. I do not recommend storing the cookies in the refrigerator after they’ve been cut as it dries out the cookies. You can freeze cut cookies, however.
You can freeze the cookies frosted or unfrosted. I recommend freezing the cut bars on a baking tray first, then transferring to an airtight container. Allow the cookies to that in a single layer at room temperature.
These cookies can also stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week once frosted.
Cookie lovers, if you loved these sugar cookie bars, you will need to try these lemon sugar cookies, sprinkle sugar cookies, chocolate sugar cookies, and Nutella-stuffed sugar cookies. If you want something a little different, try this edible sugar cookie dough, edible chocolate chip cookie dough, edible brownie batter, and edible cake batter. You can also check out the sugar cookie bar story here.