It’s been years since I made Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bars, which is sad, because they’re one of the most Pinterest pinned recipes on my entire blog. Every day people pin it to their baking inspiration boards, putting it on their list of recipes to try. And here I am completely forgetting all about it in my quest to bake everything ever. Well no more! It’s time for those Sugar Cookie Bars to take another spin around the block!
I love the simplicity of these bars. Perfectly sweet, delectably vanilla, with a cool hint of peppermint: it’s all the fantastic flavors of your favorite cut out sugar cookies, without all the fuss. And none of the royal icing. Dress it up in festive sprinkles and colors for the holidays, or trade out the peppermint for lemon, almond, vanilla, or any other of your favorite extracts and enjoy these for every occasion, all year long!
I’ve really got to start delving into the depths of my past recipes. Who knows what other gems I’ve forgotten about along the way! And somebody please remind me not to wait another 3 years to make these bars again. That’s just too long.
Sugar Cookie Bars
Adapted from Love and Olive Oil
Makes 16 bars
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 1/2 a vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Food coloring, optional
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 9x9 baking pan. Line with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on opposite sides. Butter parchment paper as well; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed, until well combined. Add vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste and beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
4. Spread dough evenly into prepared baking pan, smoothing top. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for about 30 minutes. Using parchment overhang, lift out of pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. While it is cooling, make frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add peppermint and vanilla extract and salt and beat until combined. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until well combined and smooth. Add food coloring, if desired, beating until color is even. Add milk, ½ tablespoon at a time until frosting reaches desired consistency. Spread frosting in an even layer across the top of cooled cookie. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Cut into squares with a sharp knife, wiping clean after each cut.