I brought these to a retreat; they are super simple, portable, and serve a ton of people. Each time I make these, people ask me for the recipe! Whether for a church event, team feed, pot-luck, school party, shower or even for a wedding! I made 180 sugar cookie bites a few months back along with 180 Espresso Brownie Bites. So fun!
At this retreat, meals are assigned by condo, so we all pitched in to make these mini meatballs for Italian Wedding Soup along with Cobb Salad, Green Chicken Chili, Asian Ramen Noodle Salad, and several other items! Patty, the beautiful blonde in the middle is the one who gave me the Italian Wedding soup recipe! Julie, the sweet-hearted beauty on the far right, gave me the wonderful Easy Yeast Rolls recipe. And Janice, the darling rock star on the far left, saved our family a few weeks ago when we had all been sick by bringing us a delicious taco bar dinner. I am surrounded by wonderful cooks!
And our hubby’s…well they were all working hard…on work! Notice what is on the table in front of them? The sheet pan of frosted sugar cookie bars! We’ve shared a lot of life together over the years with these families, whatever you do, do not do life alone!
How to Make Sugar Cookie Bar Dough
Start by plopping your room temp butter into your mixer bowl, then pour in your all natural cane sugar.
BUTTER SOFTENING TIP | Remember, if you forget to take your butter out, just microwave it for 8-12 seconds (every microwave is different, so start out on the low end).
CREAM YOUR BUTTER & SUGAR FOR SOFT, CHEWY COOKIES
Cream sugar and butter for a couple of minutes (3-5 minutes) at medium to medium-high speed. I like to use all natural cane sugar, which is not bleached and not quite as fine as bleached white sugar, so it takes a bit longer to cream into fluffy perfection. Scrape down sides before adding eggs.
Add your eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium for about 1 minute per egg! Scraping down sides after each addition.
While your eggs are whipping up, in a medium bowl mix together all purpose flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk, set aside.
Pour in a few glugs of vanilla, and then add your flour mixture into your batter, ½ cup at a time, mixing on low until blended, scraping down sides often.
Try and not overmix, but make sure all of your flour is incorporated.
Spray a non-stick piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and put on top of dough to aid in spreading. Smoothing to the corners to evenly distribute the dough.
When I’m doing my sugar cookie “button” bites, I line the pan with parchment or foil so I can lift them out for easier cutting.
Bake for 10 minutes, no longer, they will look pale and undone, therein lies the beauty of these babies! Remove from oven and cool completely prior to frosting.
If you don’t have one, get a reliable kitchen timer, one that is long, loud, annoying and goes for a bit so you can hear it anywhere in the house.
DO NOT OVERBAKE!
Resist the urge to bake for longer than 10 minutes, if you are a baker, you will think they are undercooked, but if you bake them longer, instead of chewy soft cookies, you will instead get a crumbly, dry cookie, trust me on this one!
I typically cool mine and then cover with foil or tight plastic wrap and frost the following day.
MAKE AHEAD TIP
If making multiple batches for a large crowd, I suggest you freeze the entire cookie in the pan; once frozen, remove cookie “slab” using the parchment paper and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place back in freezer, repeat with other batches, stacking one on top of the other. When ready to cut, allow to sit at room temp for about 10-15 minutes, cut as planned.
HOW TO MAKE THE FLUFFIEST MILE HIGH BUTTERCREAM
This is a delicious, light, fluffy, buttery, out-of-this-world creamy frosting! If piping the frosting, reduce the amount of cream/milk for slightly stiffer frosting, but this frosting may be easily spread over the top of the bars as well.
Start by placing your room temperature butter in the bowl of a mixer, whip it until nice and fluffy, 2-4 minutes.
Then add your vanilla extract.
Next, if desired (optional for the recipe) grab a fresh vanilla bean or two, using the sharp tip of a knife, slice down the length of the bean, scoring the top of the bean, but not through the bottom. See those beautiful seeds! Separate the bean, to reveal the seeds, then using the back of the knife, scrape down the length of the bean to get the seeds. Scrape into bowl with butter and blend well, you may need to scrape off of the beater if seeds collect.
COST OF VANILLA BEANS
Toss in a pinch of salt, yes, salt, you won’t taste it but it truly brings out the flavors. (Normally I truly pinch it, but someone gave me these cute little measuring spoons that are a dash and a pinch.)
Now add your powdered sugar, a little at a time, alternating with the milk/cream, start by adding 4-5 tablespoons of milk or cream, adding more as needed. My favorite mini measuring cup!
Once all of your powdered sugar is incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl, turn mixer on high and beat 4-8 minutes until smooth, light and fluffy. Scraping down the sides and bottom every so often.
If desired, tint buttercream with food coloring, add sprinkles or keep plain and simple, nothing wrong with that!
How to Cut Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars | Clean and Easy
Once frosted, I like to cut through cookies with a hot knife scoring through the frosting. Chill for 30-60 minutes to allow frosting to firm up slightly before cutting completely. Make as big or small as you like!
NOTE | I typically cut off the brown, uneven edges in order to get nice clean sliced and evenly sized cookies.
HOW TO MAKE SUGAR COOKIE BUTTONS OR BITES
If you are making the Sugar Cookie Buttons/Bites using the parchment or foil, remove your cookie “slab” from the pan, place on a large cutting board and using a 1″ round or square cookie cutter, cut buttons/squares of cookies as close together as possible.
What in the World are Cookie Guts?
Don’t throw away the cookie “guts,” the little leftover pieces after cutting out buttons.
Uses for cookie guts:
- crumble on ice cream
- stir into homemade ice cream
- stick in a baggie and toss in a lunch box
- Mix into a decadent milkshake
PIPING TIP | Fold over the top of the piping bag and then place piping bag inside of a large glass while filling, it will make it easier to fill and keep it ready at hand.
Pipe a small swirl of frosting onto each button. If using sprinkles, pipe several cookies and then put sprinkles on before frosting has a chance to set up, if not, sprinkles will fall right off!
Change up frosting tips if desired for different effects. If you know you will change your tips, either put frosting and tips on two different pastry bags, or make sure you use a frosting coupler so you can easily change the tip out, double check to make sure the coupler fits your frosting tip.
Can you see my reflection in the silver dragee?
A sheet pan makes about 86 bites! Figure 2-3 per person. May be frozen but, better freshly frosted!
Regardless of who you are making these for, they are little bites of heaven! Enjoy!
Like this recipe? Give these a try…
- Browned Butter Sugar Cookie Bars with Salted Caramel Frosting
- Basic Fudge Brownies with Frosting
- Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Scrumptious, dense, buttery simple sugar cookie bars! Slightly undercooked with a heavenly fluffy buttercream frosting, great for a crowd!
SUGAR COOKIE BARS
- 1 cup real butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 2 cups all natural cane sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease an 18×13* (see notes on 9×13) inch pan (½ sheet pan).
- Cream your butter for 2-3 minutes.
- Add sugar and beat until until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides. If using natural cane sugar, mix on high speed for at least 2-4 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well (about 1 minute) after each addition, scrape bowl after each addition.
- While eggs are mixing, in medium bowl, measure out flour, baking soda and salt and whisk together.
- Once eggs are creamed in, scrape down sides of bowl again, add vanilla and mix well.
- Slowly pour in flour, mixing on low speed until all the flour is incorporated, scrape down sides of bowl.
- Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.
- Spread dough into prepared pan, using a non-stick sprayed piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper, spread over top of of dough and spread evenly to all corners of the pan, making sure it’s as even as possible.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, no longer, they will not look done, remove from oven and let cool completely. May be covered completely and frozen if need be. If making in 9×13 pan you may need any extra 1-2 minutes but no longer, you want it puffy, but should look dull, no shiny parts.
MILE HIGH BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
- While cookies cool (or take out of freezer, if frozen) make frosting.
- Place butter in the mixer bowl and whip on medium-high speed until light & fluffy, 2-4 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and pinch of salt and whip up well.
- Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing on low.
- Pour 4 tablespoons (with mixer running) of milk or cream and whip up well, depending on consistency needed (less milk for piping) a little extra for spreading typically.
- Add more milk as needed, whip for 4-8 minutes until cloud like light!
- If you’d like to color the frosting, add tiny amounts of gel food coloring until desired tint is achieved.
- If adding an extract, add at end and whip for additional minute.
- Spread or pipe onto baked goods.
- Add sprinkles, if desired
*If thicker bars and frosting are desired, bake in parchment lined 9×13 pan, for about 11-12 minutes, if you want underdone (which I love) cookies. Cool completely and frost.
TIP | To make it easier to cut, freeze the bars and frosting for 20 minutes, using the parchment lift out of of pan and onto cutting board, using a long knife, running under hot water and wiping before each cut will ensure a smooth and clean cut.
Keywords: sugar cookies, sugar cookie bars, sugar cookie bites, frosting, baking for a crowd, buttercream, vanilla, wedding desserts, mini desserts, soft, chewy, frosted
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