Soft, buttery sugar cookies come together quickly in bar cookie form, and frosting them with decadent chocolate buttercream puts them over the top!
Teacher Appreciation Week is upon us, and I signed up to bring a treat tomorrow for the Never Ending Dessert Bar (how good does that sound?!) in the teacher lounge. So you'll never guess what I'm sharing on the blog today... 😉
I love love LOVE cookies -- making them and eating them! But forming individual cookies and baking one sheet after another takes a decent chunk of time, which I haven't exactly had lately thanks to a certain fussy, separation anxiety-ridden 20-month-old.
But cookie bars? Those I can whip out in no time, even with a screaming toddler clinging to my leg.
So I decided to take my all-time favorite sugar cookie recipe and turn it into bars. It worked beautifully, but the bars were a little ho-hum looking to be sharing as a teacher treat, so I decided to dress them up with some frosting. I was torn as to what type of frosting to go with, but I thought I'd mimic the classic yellow cake/chocolate icing combo and go for vanilla cookies with chocolate buttercream. Let's just say that it was a very good idea, indeed.
May I step on my soapbox for a moment here? Buy good quality, pure vanilla extract, friends. It makes all of the difference in your baking! (I've said it before, but I am enamored with Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla and order it by the jug.)
If you're afraid that the vanilla-laced sugar cookie flavor may be overpowered by the chocolate, you can always sprinkle your bars with a generous dusting of sugar before baking and leave them unfrosted. Or you could go with a regular buttercream on top instead of chocolate. Any way you slice it (er, them), these bars are quick and easy to make and -- have I mentioned? -- quite tasty. Dressing them up with some colorful sprinkles makes them even more fun!
Are you celebrating the teachers in your life this week as well? If so, take them a batch of Sugar Cookie Bars with Chocolate Buttercream! We may have reached the last month of the school year, but it's never too late to secure that coveted position as teacher's pet. 😉
Sugar Cookie Bars with Chocolate Buttercream
FOR THE COOKIE BARS:
- 2 cups 10 ounces* all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
FOR THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped, melted, and cooled to room temperature
- Adjust rack to center position in oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whip butter until smooth. Beat in sugars at medium speed. Scrape bowl, increase to medium-high speed, and beat for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla until incorporated. Turn mixer to low and slowly stir in flour mixture, mixing until just combined and taking care not to overmix.
- Turn dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer (you may lightly flour hands if it's sticking to fingers). Bake for approximately 13 to 15 minutes, or until just set and edges are beginning to show a hint of golden color. Set pan on a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
- Once cookies are cool, prepare buttercream by using an electric mixer to beat butter until smooth, and then blend in powdered sugar alternated with milk. You may use more or less milk to achieve your desired consistency. Mix in vanilla and salt; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, pour in melted chocolate, and beat at medium speed for 1 more minute or until light and fluffy.
- Evenly spread frosting over cooled sugar cookie bars. Slice into squares with a sharp knife, wiping clean between each cut. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. These are best if you allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
- I have the most success with this recipe when I weigh my flour, rather than just using measuring cups. If you use measuring cups and your dough seems too sticky to press into the pan, add a tad bit more flour.
- I melt my chocolate by placing it in a heat-proof bowl, microwaving on high for 30 seconds, stirring, and then repeating a couple times until solid all lumps melt when stirred. You may also melt chocolate over a double boiler.
Cookie bars adapted from Baking Illustrated.
Frosting adapted from Williams Sonoma.
More School Day Treats
- 1st Week of School Teacher Survival Kit Printable
- Teacher Appreciation Printable
- Peanut Butter Muffins with Jelly
- Oats & Honey Granola Bars