Looking for an easy bar cookie for the holidays? These Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars will soon become a family favorite!
I cannot believe we’re already in the second week of December! How in the world did that happen so quickly?! I am constantly amazed that we have not entered a fast-forward time machine of sorts. It just flies by, which, let’s be honest – is what most of us are hoping for from 2020.
I wanted to share this super quick and EASY Christmas cookie-ish recipe with you today because I know we’re all short on time (and sometimes patience!) and this recipe solves both of those dilemmas for those days when you just can’t even handle cut-out sugar cookies, royal icing, and all the time needed to bake trays after trays of cookies.
I, for one, love how simple this recipe is and how it can be cut for a larger crowd. Plus, it is SO much less tedious to make one pan of sugar cookies than rolling, cutting, rerolling or even dropping cookie dough onto pans. Who has all this extra time? This is so much easier!
The base is a SUPER soft sugar cookie dough that gets baked until just barely kissed with a light golden brown color. By baking it just enough but not enough to totally brown, you’re rewarded with ultra tender and soft sugar cookies with a fluffy, moist crumb. The entire bar tastes like the center of a soft sugar cookie! Then I frost them with a simple vanilla buttercream I could make in my sleep.
While I LOVE regular sugar cookies, these are just such a cinch to whip up! I plan on making these in lieu of cut-outs this year and cutting the bars into smaller squares to spread among many Christmas treat trays. You could also bake and frost the bars and then use cookie cutters to cut out special shapes! That would be SO cute.
To really ramp up these Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars, I recommend using salted butter for extra flavor and adding in a little fresh lemon or orange zest or almond extract with the vanilla extract. It really elevates the flavor of these bars and gives it a little something special. Likewise, you could also beat in a few ounces of cream cheese to the frosting to add a tangy richness. And don’t feel like you have to garnish with sprinkles, although they’re plenty cute! You could also top with chopped nuts, dried cranberries, miniature seasonal M&M’s candies or crushed candy canes.
Whatever you do, you HAVE got to give these Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars a try!
*slightly adapted from here
Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract OR lemon/orange zest optional
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
For the Vanilla Buttercream:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream or milk
- 2¼ cups confectioners' sugar
- Sprinkles for decoration if using
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Line a 9x13 light metal rectangular baking pan with parchment or foil, extending the sides of the parchment or foil over the edges of the pan. Spray lightly with cooking spray; set aside.
- For the cookies: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, followed by the vanilla extract and almond extract or citrus zest, if using.
- Lastly, add in the baking powder, cornstarch, and flour and mix on low speed until just barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Spread the batter into the prepared pan in an even layer.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes or until just barely browned. It will still look slightly underdone and very pale; this is normal and remember, it will continue finishing cooking in the hot pan outside of the oven. Cool completely, about 90 minutes.
- For the vanilla buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and vanilla until whipped and combined, about 30 seconds. Alternate adding in the confectioners' sugar and heavy cream, mixing well after each addition until frosting is light and fluffy.
- Spread the frosting evenly over the sugar cookie bars; top with sprinkles, if using.
Soft, chewy, buttery and tender sugar cookie goodness! I am in love with these easy bars!
Have a super sweet day!
Ingrid Goodman says
These Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars are the best cookie bar you will ever make. This recipe is even better than an actual sugar cookie. They are soft and chewy and it’s impossible to eat just one. It takes a bit of patience if you’re making these with a hand mixer like I did, but it is so worth every minute in the kitchen in the end. They are absolutely divine. When you make these, you will guaranteed be tempted to never make a hard sugar cookie again, because these are just SO MUCH BETTER. These bars are 5 stars all the way!
Wow, that is such high praise! Thank you so much, Ingrid!
Marina Angleton says
They sound devine! Can you bake ahead…1-2 days prior to Christmas?
Hi Marina, yes absolutely! You can bake these I’d say up to 3 days before Christmas. Store covered at room temperature or covered in the fridge – your choice.
These are too good! Next time I’d err on the side of 14 minutes rather than the full 16 but even though the edges are slightly more done they are delightful. I also goofed when making the frosting in that the full 1/4 cup of milk was a tad too much to get my frosting to fluff. A little more powered sugar remedied the issue though. Now that I’ve had a practice run the next batch will be even better (which is hard to imagine given how yummy they are!).
Ali, so glad you enjoyed!
Do these require refrigeration after being made? They look AMAZING
Hi Meghan, no they do not! They can be kept at room temperature (covered) or if you want, they do taste great in the fridge, too.
Hi! I only have glass 9*13 baking dishes. I’m wondering if that would work. I’m so excited to make these! Love your recipes ❤
Hi Christine! Glass pans aren’t my favorite since they bake so inconsistently, but no worries – you can absolutely still make this in a glass pan! Just note that you may need to bake it a little longer than the recipe suggests. I’d say check at the 14 minute mark and increase every 2 minutes until done. You’ll know it’s done when it is very, very light golden brown and appears set.
Seriously good!!! The cookie bars are soft and the frosting is delicious.
These are so easy and so delicious!! Thanks for an awesome recipe! I will be saving and re-baking quite a bit 🙂
Absolutely delicious ! I used 1/4 tea almond extract and added 1/4 more vanilla extract. Can’t wait to try lemon or orange zest! Everyone at work loved them and asked for the recipe! Thank you and Merry Christmas ?
Cristi, I love that you used almond extract as well! Sounds amazing. Give the zests a try next time. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
are you able to make these as sugar cookies? (same recipe, but use cookie cutters and bake them as cookies)
Hi Sarah, no. You could make the bars and cut them into shapes after baking and frosting. For sugar cookies, try my Foolproof Sugar Cookies.
Ingrid Olson says
Can I use cream cheese frosting on these bars?
Hi Ingrid, absolutely! You can use this same frosting but add in 3-4 oz of softened cream cheese, or make your own cream cheese icing from scratch.
Thanks..cant wait to eat them !
These were delicious and super simple to make. Mine were a little fluffier than the picture, so I’m not sure if I baked them a little too long or added too much of an ingredient. My baking is kind of hot and miss tbh. They were really good and a general crowd pleaser. I will definitely make them again.
Gaby G. says
Super easy recipe AND super easy to make!!! Its done pretty quick as well. I originally thought i had made it incorrectly because it seem kind of thick/dry to me after mixing, but it was very easy to spread in the pan. Just as instructed, the cookie does look under-baked, but dont get discouraged its fully baked and its soft and SUPER DELICIOUS.
Fun to decorate with the kids as well
Sara Myers says
Let me tell you this recipe is GOOD!! I went with the almond extract and I really enjoy the flavor it brings to the sugar cookie. The frosting was a bit sweet for me, so I added a pinch of salt and lemon juice and now I can’t stop eating it. 10/10 will make again, thanks for the recipe!!
We used an 8×8 pan because we didn’t have a 9×13, but these still turned out deliciously! I just baked longer in short increments but they turned out great. Perfectly sweet and a good texture!
Absolutely delicious ! I used 1/4 tea almond extract and added 1/4 more vanilla extract. Can’t wait to try lemon or orange zest! Everyone at work loved them and asked for the recipe!
I haven’t made them but I wish I had a tray rn! I saw that you said this wouldn’t be the recipe as a cookie, but what if I was making a dessert pizza? Should I use this recipe or the foolproof sugar cookie? Thanks!
Hi Cecilia, I would use maybe this recipe for a sugar cookie pizza base!
Okay, so I NEVER leave reviews… on anything… but I had to for this one. I have made a few of Hayley’s recipes in the past and all were bomb… but this one right here! *inserts chef kiss* If you have ever had the chilled sugar cookie from Crumbl… this tastes exactly like it! Soft, chewy, with just enough bite. I also added almond extract so it was more bakery style. DO NOT SKIP THE ALMOND! This will definitely be my go to! I topped it with a light buttercream so it wasn’t too heavy or sweet! Thanks!
Wow these are DELICIOUS! I love sugar cookies but hate having to roll them out. Once I saw these I knew they were perfect cookie for me to try. I made a cream cheese frosting like suggested in the comments and it was amazing. Everyone kept saying how good these were at Christmas. Will definitely be making these all throughout the year.
Can these be made with gluten free flour?
Of course, Andra! I would use a 1-1 cup for cup GF flour.
Jessica Ercoli says
Made these twice now and they are amazing, but can they be frozen with the icing?
Hi Jessica, they should freeze just fine with the icing!
The almond extract definitely takes these over the top in a really positive way!!! Made them exactly to the recipe. Did have to bake the sugar cookie more than the recommended time, but they still came out nice and cakey. Absolutely loved them!!!!!
They were such a hit! Super easy to make