Monday, July 26, 2010

Sugar Cookie Bars

I've seen recipes for these for a while now but never really cared to try them. I'm not really a big sugar cookie fan. I only make sugar cookies like once a year around Christmas time, and even at that it's more of an activity. But when my friend told me someone at work made them and they were amazing I thought i would give them a try. I don't know what recipe she had, but either way i'm sure they're pretty much the same. These turned out really well! Tasted like a typical sugar cookie but thicker and without all the work. And in bar form. I love things in bar form. I didn't use a vanilla bean, but the lemon zest really adds flavor to these. I only made 1/2 batch since I thought a full batch would produce way too many but it didn't make quite as many as I thought. Even with 1/2 though it was enough for Matt to take to his club at school.

Sugar Cookie Bars

Yield: about 4 dozen bars
For the cookie bars:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
Zest from 1 lemon
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda

For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
5 tbsp. milk
Food coloring (optional)

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Grease a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla, seeds from the vanilla bean, and lemon zest. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir together with a fork to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and beat on low speed just until incorporated.
Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet and press into an even layer. Bake 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla, salt, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Mix in the milk. Tint as desired with food coloring. Spread over the cookie in the pan, cut into bars and serve.
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