I brought these to a retreat; they are super simple, portable, and serve a ton of people. I always get a lot of requests for the recipe.
Whether for a church event, team feed, pot-luck, school party or maybe even for a wedding! I made 180 sugar cookie bites a few months back along with 180 Espresso Brownie Bites. That was fun, hard but 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!
MAKING SUGAR COOKIE BAR DOUGH
Start by plopping your room temp butter into your mixer bowl.
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).
Then pour in your sugar…
THE BEST WAY TO CREAM 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 flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk, set aside. (oops, I accidentally used my flash on this — a no-no in the food photography world! Oh well it sure does highlight the pretty egg.
Pour in a few glugs of vanilla…
Next 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 like to use parchment or foil to 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 that is long, loud, annoying and goes for a bit so you can hear it anywhere in the house.
TIP | Resist the urge to bake for longer than 10 minutes, if you are a baker, you will think they are undone and if you bake them longer, instead of chewy soft cookies, you will instead get a crumbly, dry cookie, trust me on this one!
I will typically cool mine and then cover with foil or tight plastic wrap and frost the following day.
TIP | If making multiple batches for a large crowd, I suggest you freeze the entire cookie in the pan, once frozen, remove using the parchment paper and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place back in freezer, this way you may freezer large quantities if you will be frosting loads of them. 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.
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 that are a dash and a pinch.)
Now add your powdered sugar, a little at a time, alternating with the milk or cream, start by adding 4-5 tablespoons of milk or cream, adding more as needed.
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 spreading directly onto sheet pan of cookies, spread evenly to all sides of the pan, using an offset spatula for ease.
TIP | See below for instructions on cutting Sugar Cookie Bites or Buttons and piping the frosting on.
If desired, tint with food coloring, add sprinkles or keep plain and simple, nothing wrong with that! 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!
TIP | 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
TIP | Don’t throw away the cookie “guts,” the little leftover pieces after cutting out buttons, they are yummy by themselves or on ice cream!
If piping frosting onto the bites, place frosting in piping bag fit with the tip of your choice, I used both the large tip and the Wilton #32 star tip for the swirled look.
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 or other decorations, 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 so you can easily change the tip out.
Can you see my reflection in the silver Dragée?
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!
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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 butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 2 cups sugar (I use unbleached organic 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 3-5 minutes until cloud like light!
- If you’d like to color the frosting, add small amounts of gel food coloring at at time until desired color.
- Don’t add too much as it will thin the frosting, a little goes a long way.
- Spread onto cookies. If making cookie bites, put frosting into piping bag and pipe onto cookie buttons.
- Add sprinkles if desired.
- Cut into bars
*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
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