Sugar Cookie Bars are soft and chewy dessert bars topped with a festive red homemade American buttercream frosting. If you love classic cut-out sugar cookies and decorating them, be sure to check out my Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe.
Sugar Cookie Bars
For the same great taste as my Ugly Sweater Sugar Cookies, but without any rolling or cutting of the dough, this recipe is the way to go. The bars give you all the sugar cookie flavor in a thick dessert bar. Then, the bars are piled high with plenty of frosting.
Sugar Cookie Bars Recipe
It starts with the sugar cookie dough for this recipe. Then, it’s all about the homemade buttercream frosting.
Bars Ingredients (full recipe in the recipe card below)
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Egg yolks
- Vanilla extract
- Almond extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Whole milk
- Red gel food coloring–Gel food coloring will give you more vibrant color. If you are using liquid food coloring (not gel), you may need to add a little peppermint extract to offset the bitterness.
How to Make Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars
Get out your stand mixer, a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, and preheat the oven to get started. There is no need to chill this dough; it’s easy to get these made!
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined (about 2 minutes).
- Next, with the mixer on low, add in the eggs and egg yolks.
- Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Then, with the mixer back on low, add the vanilla and almond extract.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Mix in the flour mixture about a cup at a time until fully incorporated.
- Press the batter into the baking dish.
- Bake 20-25 minutes. You don’t want to overbake these bars.
- Let the bars cool as you make the buttercream frosting.
American Buttercream Frosting
American buttercream is the easiest style of buttercream to make with very few ingredients and steps. You will be able to pile on the frosting and make it as bright in color as you desire!
- To properly cream the butter and sugar to form the buttercream, the butter must start at room temperature. If the butter is too cold, the emulsion might break causing a separated buttercream.
- A great reason to use buttercream for these bars is it accepts color so beautifully.
- If the buttercream will not be used right away it must be stored in the refrigerator. It will firm up quite a bit and should be allowed to come back to room temperature before piping or spreading. Depending on how long it was stored you may need to re-mix it quickly.
How to Make Bright Red Frosting
If it’s at all possible to plan ahead, make your icing a day or two in advance. The color will deepen considerably as it sets. The ratio I use is a 1-ounce bottle of McCormick red food color in about 4 cups of buttercream. If using gel, it will be much less.
I make the frosting as directed and add the food color when I add the vanilla. Make sure it is fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. I will then dampen a towel and set it over the bowl for a few hours. If the red looks perfect after a few hours I will place it in an airtight container and store it until needed. If the color doesn’t seem red enough I will add more food color 1/2 teaspoon at a time allowing it to set for a few hours between each addition. If you have the time to let the frosting rest overnight you will see that it darkens considerably and you often do not need any more food color!
Looking for More Dessert Bars?
Sugar Cookie Bars are soft and chewy dessert bars topped with a festive red homemade American buttercream frosting.
- 1½ cups (3 sticks or 340g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups (454g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 1-3 tablespoons whole milk, as needed
- red gel food coloring, as much as needed for desired color
- *If you are not using gel food color, you may want to add peppermint extract to cover the bitterness of red food coloring.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until well-combined (about 2 minutes).
With the mixer on low, add in the eggs and egg yolks, mixing until well incorporated.
Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.
With the mixer back on low, add the vanilla and almond extract.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
Mix the flour mixture with the butter mixture about a cup at a time until fully incorporated.
Press the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool as you make the buttercream frosting.
Combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Start mixing on low speed until the sugar is incorporated with the butter. Increase the mixing speed to high and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Adjust the consistency with milk as needed.
Add in food coloring until desired color is reached. Spread the buttercream over the cooled sugar cookie bars. Cut and enjoy!