Easy Sugar Cookie Bars Recipe With Cream Cheese
Sugar Cookie Bars are half the work, yet 100% delicious! A melt-in-your-mouth pan sugar cookie with the moist, tangy richness of cream cheese slathered in sweet buttercream. Fun to decorate for any occasion, sugar cookie bars take easy to the next level. Fair warning, bar cookies may spoil you from cutout cookies from now on!
When you’ve got frosted sugar cookies on the list and are short on time, you can’t go wrong with a no-fuss bar cookie! Check out these full-of-the-flavor, half-of-the-work bar cookie recipes: Hello Dollies, Copycat Tagalong Bars, Pumpkin Magic Bars, or Triple Chocolate Caramel Bars, or a refreshing fan fav, Glazed Lemon Brownies.
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Why Everyone Loves A Bar Sugar Cookie Recipe
Bar cookies really are the quintessential time-saving king of the baked cookie treat! Tender crumb paired with sweet buttercream and all that delicious sugar cookie flavor, it’s hard to eat just one. Frost a pan of sugar bar cookies for birthday parties, potlucks, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, you name it!
- No-fuss: mix, spread, and bake bar cookie recipe
- Time-saving: no rolling like sugar cookie cutout cookies
- Less-stress: make ahead sugar cookie dough, press, and bake
- Hassle-free: pan sugar cookies don’t need the dough chilled
- Fast-frosting: simple whip, slather, and smooth method
- Party-hack: an easy way to serve a crowd (double batch)
Sugar Cookie Bars Recipe Ingredients
Simple pantry staples make a bar cookie recipe super convenient. The unmistakable flavor of a sugar cookie with cream cheese and a deliciously sweet buttercream counterpoint, and you’ve got a winner! These will be gobbled and gone in no time!
For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Sugar Cookie Bars Batter Ingredients
- Unsalted Butter – softened. Use half of the salt in the bar recipe if you only have salted butter.
- Cream Cheese – softened. Full-fat is recommended for an extra chewy cookie bar; you can also use the low-fat with no noticeable taste difference.
- Sugar – white granulated, of course (sugar cookie!)
- Egg – room temperature
- Vanilla & Almond Extract – softly rounded warm notes blend for that homey sugar cookie taste.
- All-Purpose Flour – be sure to fluff or stir, spoon flour into the measuring cup, and level it off with the back of a knife. (Or your handy dandy kitchen scale).
- Baking Powder* – must be fresh to provide the leavening action needed for the sugar cookie dough.
Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
- Unsalted Butter – softened.
- Powdered Sugar – sift after measuring
- Cornstarch – to help keep frosting from smearing.
- Milk Or Heavy Cream – the lighter the milk (watery), the less you need.
- Lemon Juice – if you use freshly squeezed lemon, strain through a sieve or cheesecloth to avoid lumps in the buttercream.
- Vanilla Extract – pure vanilla is always preferred. Clear vanilla is best if you frost the bar sugar cookies in white buttercream.
- Gel Food Coloring – is optional, but oh so pretty on sugar bar cookies!
- Sprinkles – recommended. There are a variety of sprinkles available for special occasions.
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How To Make Super Easy Sugar Cookie Bars
They get the classic sugar cookie flavor everyone loves, and you get the ease and convenience you will love. No chilling time, waiting, rolling, re-rolling for cutouts, or slicing sugar cookie dough rolls. So pull out a couple of mixing bowls, a hand or stand mixer, a spatula, a 9” x13” metal pan, and parchment paper, and let’s do this!
When you are cooking, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.
- Beat the butter and cream cheese until well combined, then the sugar, followed by the wet ingredients per the recipe instructions.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a different bowl; add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and combine.
- Press the sugar cookie dough into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven until the edges turn slightly golden. Do not overbake. A toothpick inserted in the center has moist crumbs.
- Cool sugar bar cookies completely on a wire cooling rack (they continue to cook some as they cool. Frost with buttercream after they are cooled.
Baker’s Tip: The sugar cookie dough will be heavy and sticky, so prep your hands by wetting them with a little water or cooking spray.
Make Buttercream Frosting For Easy Sugar Cookie Bars
Frosted sugar cookie bars are the ultimate pairing of a sugar cookie with a rich depth of flavor complemented by the creamy-sweet frosting.
- Cream the butter
- Add powdered sugar
- Stir in cornstarch
- Add remaining ingredients
- Beat until light and fluffy
- Adjust with milk for consistency
- Easy-peasy! Using a spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the top of the sugar cookie, top with sprinkles, cut, and serve.
The Best Sugar Cookie Bar Recipe Notes and Tips
- I always make sugar cookie bars in a metal cake pan. If you use a baking dish such as Pyrex or ceramic, you will likely need to bake them longer. Metal conducts heat more efficiently; glass baking pans take longer to heat.
- You can make these bar cookies on a large-rimmed baking sheet (13×18), which will be a little thinner. Start checking them around 16-17 minutes, and do not overcook.
- Line the pan with parchment paper extending two inches past the rim on two sides to lift out the whole sugar cookie bar. Once fully cooled, remove the cookie from the pan using the overhanging parchment paper to frost and cut in neat lines.
- Ensure all sugar cookie bar ingredients are at room temperature before preparing the dough.
- The cornstarch will help lightly “crust” the frosting. You can make the frosting without it if you don’t have any. It helps the frosted sugar cookie bars to be a little more stable, so they won’t smear if you wrap them or stack them.
- Shake it up with different extracts like lemon, hazelnut, maple, anise, rum, lemon, banana, and coconut. Create your own combination, like a pina colada sugar cookie bar with banana and coconut extract! (Throw some toasted coconut on the frosting. Hmm, I may have to try that myself!)
How To Store Frosted Cookie Bars
These cookie bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Bonus! You can make the sugar cookie dough in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for a day or two. If you need to keep it longer, use an airtight container/bag in the freezer.
Freeze without the frosting for up to one month. Cool completely, then store in the freezer in an airtight container or bag with several wraps of plastic wrap and parchment paper between bars.
Thaw completely at room temperature, then frost.
Frosted cookie bars can also be frozen for up to one month in an airtight container with parchment or wax paper between layers.
Sugar Cookie Bar FAQs
You can DIY your own baking powder using cream of tartar, baking soda, and cornstarch (optional) 2:1:1 ratio. This recipe calls for ½ tsp of baking powder:
¼ level tsp cream of tartar + ⅛ level teaspoon baking soda + ⅛ tsp of cornstarch = baking powder.
Besides wetting your hands or spraying with oil, there are other options depending on the type of cookie. A non-stick spray is your friend whether you use it on the back of a wooden spoon, spatula, or the flat bottom of a glass. A food-safe plastic glove (sprayed) or a piece of parchment paper works great too!
Yes! If you can readjust your baking time. If the pan is larger than called for, the cookie bars will be thinner and dry if overcooked. If the pan is smaller, the exact opposite is true, thicker and undercooked if the bake time is not adjusted accordingly.
Featured Product 9×13 Non-Stick Cake Pan
This baking pan can be used to bake brownies, bar cookies, casseroles, and more. Add the plastic cover, then bring them to a picnic, party, or family gathering!
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Easy Sugar Cookie Bars
Sugar Cookie Bars are half the work, yet 100% delicious! A melt-in-your-mouth pan sugar cookie, soft just like a Lofthouse cookie slathered in sweet buttercream.
for cookie bars
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar (sift after measuring)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- gel food coloring (optional)
- sprinkles (recommended)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13 metal pan with butter and set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well combined. Add the sugar and continue beating until smooth (about 1 minute). Next, add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on low for another minute until well blended.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until completely combined.
- The cookie dough will be heavy and sticky, so it’s a good idea to wet your hands with a little water or spray them with cooking spray and press the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges just start to turn lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center has moist crumbs. You do not want to overbake. Remove from oven and set the pan on a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter until creamy (about 1 minute).
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar until completely combined, then stir in the cornstarch. Add the milk, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and food coloring (if using). Beat on low speed until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes) and add more milk if needed 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency
- Using a spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cooled sugar cookie, top with sprinkles, cut, and serve.
- These cookie bars will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Bonus! You can make the sugar cookie dough in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for a day or two. If you need to keep it longer, use an airtight container/bag in the freezer.
- Freeze with or without the frosting. Cool completely, then store in the freezer in an airtight container or bag with parchment paper between bars.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 322Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 134mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 0gSugar: 26gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used and are just estimates. We encourage, especially if these numbers are important to you, to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.
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