It took us a few years to be ready to share our favorite soft sugar cookie bars recipe because it had to be perfectly soft and perfectly delicious.
What Makes Sugar Cookies Hard?
Over-working the dough yields a tough cookie, which is not at all what you want.
The very best sugar cookies are soft and tender.
We often tell you to bake cookies until they’re golden brown.
This isn’t the case with sugar cookies, though.
Once the edges develop a golden hue, you’ve gone too far.
While overcooked sugar cookies are certainly still palatable, they’ll be hard and crunchy, instead of soft and chewy.
Easter is on my birthday this year. I don’t remember that ever happening but it is my favorite holiday because of what it celebrates, the colors and decorations and because of the food so I pretty much feel like I’ve won the lottery this year which is how you’ll feel if you make our favorite soft sugar cookie bars recipe.
Cade says he doesn’t really remember having them as a kid either, but with all due respect, this is Cade talking and he doesn’t seem to remember a lot about what he ate as a kid. He was far too interested in running around with friends than to worry about what was happening in the kitchen.
A lot of the recipes we tested were good but the bars were a little on the dry side. And many weren’t very flavorful so it was a bit more of a process than we expected to find a good dough.
We discovered two things, first being the almond extract. You don’t want too much as you don’t want that fragrant flavor taking over the soft dough but just enough seems to really enhance the flavor.
The second is the corn starch. Many years ago I read on Center Cut Cook that she uses cornstarch to keep her cookies extra soft so on a whim we threw it in hoping for the same results and it worked! The cornstarch works to keep the dough soft but not so much that you can’t cut the bars. In fact, these really are the perfect sugar cookie bar, just softer!
How do You Keep Your Parchment Down in a Pan?
Just wanted to give a quick tip about parchment paper.
I have heard the crinkle up parchment paper to keep it down in a pan method but I do not like it.
It doesn’t work well and leaves the bottom of your dessert a mess.
We prefer to spray the pan with nonstick spray and then press it down in the pan.
It sticks and wont move when you’re adding in your dough.
How to Make Soft Sugar Cookies
The most important step in making sugar cookie bars is to set the butter out to soften. You cannot work with melted butter or too cold butter.
Second, make sure you beat the butter and sugar for a good minute, or even too so that the dough will be extra fluffy. We beat it again for 30 seconds once the eggs are added and not merely mix until incorporated.
Bake in a 9×13″ pan until just golden on top and then gently remove from the oven to cool completely before frosting. If you want an extra dense and soft cookie bar as pictured, merely bang the pan on the counter after it has cooled for a few minutes. If you want the bars to have great height just be really gentle in setting it on the counter to cool.
What Kind of Frosting to Use on Sugar Cookies
Frost everything with your favorite frosting. We love to use straight butter or half butter and half cream cheese as listed in the recipe. A straight cream cheese frosting really wasn’t our favorite. If you want to use a food coloring we like to choose a gel so that the color is vibrant and it doesn’t mess with the texture at all.
Now it’s your turn, print off the recipe and get your own cookies going!
Our Favorite Soft Sugar Cookie Bars
Our Favorite Soft Sugar Cookie Bars
- 3 Cups Flour, make sure you know [how to measure flour]
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Corn Starch
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 Cup Butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 1 1/4 Teaspoons Vanilla
- 2 Large Eggs, plus 1 Egg Yolk
For the Frosting
- 8 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened
- 10 Tablespoons Butter, softened
- 4 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1/4 Teaspoon [Pink Gel Food Coloring]
For the Bars
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9x13" baking pan with nonstick spray and then parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, corn starch, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar for 1 minute.
- Add the eggs and extracts and beat for another 30 seconds.
- Add the dry ingredients and turn the mixer on low, slowly moving up in speed as the flour gets incorporated.
- Turn the mixer off and press the dough into the baking pan.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until lightly golden but not brown.
- Carefully remove from the oven to cool entirely and then frost and add sprinkles.
For the Frosting
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together using a hand mixer or standing mixer.
- Add the extract and powdered sugar along with the gel and beat until smooth.
Lemon Raspberry Sugar Cookies are one of my favorite ways to enjoy summer flavors!
Blueberry Pie Sugar cookies are perfect for using up those beautiful berries!
Looking for another cookie bar recipe? Try these cookie bars!