Sugar Cookie Bars

20 servings


40 minutes

total time


1 cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan

2 3/4 cups/350 grams all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 (8-ounce/225-gram) package cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups/300 grams granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons/85 grams unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature

2 cups/245 grams confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, plus more as needed

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

A drop or two of gel food coloring (optional)

Assorted sprinkles, for decorating (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, running it up the two long sides of the pan and letting it extend past the rim by about 2 inches.

Make the bars: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing on low speed just until blended, about 1 minute.

Using a spatula, scrape the dough into the prepared baking pan and spread it into an even layer. Bake just until the edges are starting to turn light golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the middle has moist crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes. (Do not overbake! The bars should be quite moist, and almost slightly underbaked in the middle.) Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Let cool completely. When fully cooled, remove the bars from the pan using the overhanging parchment paper.

Make the frosting: Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, beating on low speed until fully combined, then repeat with remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, the vanilla, salt and food coloring, if using, and beat on medium speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides halfway through, about 4 minutes. Add more milk if needed to thin out the mixture. Add lemon juice and vanilla to taste.

Using a spatula, spread the frosting on top, then decorate with sprinkles, if using. Cut into 20 bars and serve.


Serving Size




Total Fat

17 g

Saturated Fat

10 g

Unsaturated Fat

6 g

Trans Fat

0 g




129 mg

Total Carbohydrate

42 g

Dietary Fiber

0 g

Total Sugars

28 g


3 g

20 servings


40 minutes

total time
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