One of the recipes I have wanted to share is sugar cookies. For many people, decorated sugar cookies at Christmas is a given. The problem is time.
Sugar cookies take a while.
It takes time to mix them up and then hours to chill the dough. Of course there is also the rolling and cutting and baking and then more time to cool. Then there is frosting to make and color. Depending on how elaborate you get, the frosting and decorating can take another huge chunk of time. And finally, the decorated cookies need time to dry and set.
I had every good intention to do it anyway…
Even though I stay up late and get up early, there still isn’t enough of it. I suspect I am not the only one.
A solution for the sugar cookie time suck?
Sugar Cookie Bars.
If you really want your Christmas sugar cookie fix, but you just can’t pull it off, these are a great alternative. You get a soft sweet sugar cookie with luscious buttercream frosting, and it only takes about an hour from start to finish. Yay! (I actually make these for most holidays and seasons by just changing out the sprinkles. Easy peasy.)
If you like your sugar cookies with some almond extract flavoring, you are going to love these. The recipe calls for a whole tablespoon of almond extract. If you are not a fan, perhaps you can sub vanilla. I personally love the extra punch of flavor from the almond. If you are going to a big party or get-together, this recipe makes a half sheet pan, so a ton of cookie bars. The ingredients are easy to halve for a smaller recipe if you don’t need so many.
Sugar Cookie Bars
For the cookie bar:
- 2 cups butter, softened
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 6 cups flour (If you are usually heavy handed with your measurement, go light. Over measuring the flour will make these bars dry.)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the frosting:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons milk (or more to get to the consistency you prefer)
- Optional: food coloring, sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a half sheet baking pan (13 x 18 x 1) or two smaller pans if you don’t have a half sheet, with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the eggs and extracts and beat until combined.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) together.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix to combine.
- Press the dough out evenly into the baking sheet(s) you prepared in step 1.
- Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until the top is lightly brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- Prepare the frosting in a large mixing bowl by whipping the butter and sugar until well-combined. Add the extracts and combine. Slowly add a little bit of milk at a time until desired spreading consistency is reached. If you want colored frosting, add some food coloring. Decorate with sprinkles if desired.
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