These soft and chewy Sugar Cookie Bars are the stuff of dreams!! Adapted from my all time favorite soft sugar cookie recipe, these bars have a secret ingredient that make them supremely chewy. The thick layer of buttercream frosting on top makes them irresistible!
Our neighbor’s little daughter was over playing today, and during a quiet moment she came up to me and asked, “Did you fix the baby?”
I guess she thought my 7-week-old newborn was broken because of all the crying. The peace and quiet sure is nice, right? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just give him new batteries or fiddle with a screwdriver to fix him up and make all that noise stop?? It would be so much easier than breastfeeding!
Speaking of breastfeeding, a few hours later our daughter Valentine was bragging to Eric, “Sometimes my mom lets me breastfeed!”
“Oh really? What do you breastfeed with?” She said, “A bottle of course!” Proper baby-feeding terminology is a bit much to ask a 3-year-old, I guess.
Well, love is in the air my friends! Valentine’s Day festivities are in full swing over here. Not only do we have a daughter named Valentine (who was born in November), we have a different daughter who’s birthday is near Valentine’s Day. We did this because we like to confuse everyone. Just kidding! It’s just the way it all worked out! Charlotte and Valentine were the two girl names we picked out before we were even married.
But because we have a birthday party to organize on top of all the valentines and treats to arrange for class parties, things get pretty crazy around here this time of year!
Sugar Cookie Bars forever
One of my favorite treats to make around Valentine’s Day are sugar cookie bars. Everyone loves a soft and chewy sugar cookie, and bars are soooo much easier than rolling and cutting sugar cookies.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good sugar cookie. There is just something extra special about a pretty individual cookie covered in buttercream, just for you. But sometimes, convenience wins, especially when you’ve got a crowd to feed!
How to Make Sugar Cookie Bars
These sugar cookie bars are adapted from my famous recipe, The Softest Sugar Cookies of Your Life. It’s no lie my friends. They are the softest, thickest, dreamiest sugar cookies you will ever eat. Check out over 100 reviews on the post! They hold their shape perfectly for cutting out.
The secret is in the cream cheese. It doesn’t go in the frosting! It replaces some of the butter usually called for in the sugar cookies. The cream cheese makes the final baked cookie supremely chewy and moist.
It took me three tests to adapt the cookies into bars, but I finally got it! The first couple times they came out too cakey, but third time’s the charm. This is the perfect ratio of ingredients to get that soft, thick, chewy, and fudgy texture that you want in a sugar cookie bar. Cream cheese ftw.
All it takes is mixing up a few ingredients into a simple sugar cookie dough. Butter, cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla, the usual suspects. We also add a bit of almond extract to get that perfect sugar cookie flavor. Then flour, salt, and cornstarch to make the texture extra soft.
Then press it all in the pan and bake it up! It doesn’t take long at all, less than half an hour. You do have to wait for them to cool completely before frosting (I always stick it in the freezer. Impatient much?), but it’s a lot faster than making sugar cookies where you have to chill the dough!
Top off the bars with a batch of The Best Buttercream for Sugar Cookies and you’re golden. This is my favorite buttercream, forever and always. It has not only vanilla, but also a bit of almond and coconut extract. It’s the best combo!
Sprinkles are fun and all. But what I REALLY love to sprinkle on my sugar cookie bars is this stuff called Heavenly Coconut Sugar from King Arthur Flour. I just looked and I don’t think they carry it anymore! I was going to link it for you. I’m so sad! Come on KAF, bring it back! (I promise though, these sugar cookie bars are plenty delicious without it.)
My neighbor Alex came over to chat while I was on my front porch photographing these bars. I asked him if he wanted one and he said no. “What is it, cake?” No, I said, they’re sugar cookie bars with frosting on top. And then he was like, never mind, I’ll take one. Ha! No one can resist a sugar cookie!
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day everyone! Make these sugar cookie bars for someone you love (even if it’s yourself!)
More Cookie Bars you are going to love!
- The Softest Sugar Cookies of Your Life << I stand by this title! It’s the cookie that today’s bars are based on.
- The Best Buttercream Frosting for Sugar Cookies << this is the frosting I love to spread on top of these bars!
- Caramelly Almond Butter Bars << these are so rich and fudgy!
- Cranberry Shortbread Bars << my favorite for the holidays. You can use frozen cranberries!
- Almond Roca Bars << we probably make these more than any other dessert on my blog. Done in 30 minutes!
- Frosted Peppermint Gingerbread Bars << peppermint and ginger are a totally underrated combo.
- Nutella Stuffed Browned Butter Blondies << this is a reader favorite!!
- Christmas Magic Cookie Bars from In Katrina’s Kitchen
- Melanie’s Monster Cookie Bars from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles
- 4 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from Princess Pinky Girl
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Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookie Bars
- 3/4 cup salted butter, softened (1 and 1/2 sticks)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 & 3/4 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 & 3/4 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 batch of Buttercream Frosting for Sugar Cookies
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch glass pan with parchment paper or foil, to make it easy to lift the bars out of the pan and slice. (Foil needs to be sprayed with nonstick spray) Or you can grease the pan directly with nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter on medium speed until it is soft and fluffy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides at least once.
- Add the softened 4 ounces of cream cheese and continue to beat for 1 minute, until well incorporated.
- Add 1 and 1/2 cups sugar and beat well, 1-2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides.
- Add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 and 3/4 teaspoon almond extract. Beat well. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. This is my spatula that I love and use for every baking project.
- Add 1 teaspoon salt, 2 and 3/4 cup flour, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Beat until just barely combined, scraping the sides and bottom again. Do not stir too much or you will make your dough tough.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Get your hands a little wet (shake off excess water) and press the dough evenly into the pan. (You can also grease your hands if you prefer.)
- Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. Every oven is different, keep an eye on it. The bars are done when there are just a few golden spots on the edges, and the center is no longer shiny. It’s very important not to over bake sugar cookie bars, or they will not be soft and chewy. (They will become dry and crumbly.) When a toothpick comes out of the center with no dough on it, they are done. If you are baking in a metal pan, it will bake a couple minutes faster.
- Let the bars cool completely on a wire rack. Do not frost while warm.
- Top the bars with one batch of The Best Buttercream Frosting for Sugar Cookies!
- To slice into clean bars as shown in the photos, slice off about an inch from all four edges, then slice into bars, cleaning your knife before making each cut.
These bars turned out SO good!! Be VERY careful not to over bake because even 1 minute too much makes them crumbly and dry. The buttercream frosting is amazing too! Definitely a hit with my family! They will satisfy any SUPER sweet tooth!
This recipe looks incredible!! I missed making these for Valentines. Definitely, trying this for our Mardi Gras, though! Valentine is a wonderful name.
Best sugar cookie ever! Frosting is unreal- will never use another recipe.
These are SO RIDICULOUSLY GOOD!!!!! Wow! I mean, they’re really sweet, but in a great book-an-appointment-with-your-dentist-ASAP kind of way! And you know how sometimes you follow a recipe and the result looks nothing like the photo taken by the author? Not this time! My bars came out looking just like yours, with the soft centres and the AMAZINGLY thick layer of pink buttercream. Love the mixture of coconut, almond and vanilla extracts. A really rich, delicious flavour when they’re mixed! This recipe is a KEEPER, and I’ve bookmarked it as a favourite on my laptop, and plan on making it many times in the future. Oh, and also? It was easy!!!! So kudos on a fabulous recipe!!! You rocked this one for sure! :)
Oh my goodness! These sugar cookie bars look delicious. I love a nice soft and chewy cookie and I look forward to making these sometime soon. Thank you for sharing.
These would be great for Valentine’s Day to send to my two kids in college. Do you have any suggestions for sending them in regards to the icing? Also, can these be frozen?
Thanks so much-really enjoy your blog!!:)
Hi Colleen! I would bake the cookie bars, slice into square, package up carefully with bubble wrap, then send a tupperware container of the icing for them to frost the cookies when they arrive. If you try to send frosted bars in the mail they are going to be a mess (unless you package them individually with a LOT of care). Hope this helps! Enjoy!
Is it possible to halve this recipe and bake in an 8×8 pan? If so, would one egg still be fine? Thanks!
Hey Emma!I would just halve the egg! Crack it into a bowl, whisk it up, and use about 2 tablespoons in the recipe. (1 large egg is usually about 4 tablespoons total liquid)
I think I enjoy your stories as much as the recipes. You just make me smile and laugh almost every time. If I was your neighbor I’d be coming over for a taste every time I saw you out there too. All this creativity and four? kids. Wow!
Thank you so much Sharon!! I’m so happy to hear you are enjoying the blog. I sure love writing it and sharing my favorite recipes! Thank you so much for commenting, I hope you get to try the Sugar Cookie Bars soon!
Just made these delicious treasures. My grown children were here and they didn’t last long.. had to take some home to have their roommates try them. I love the pink frosting. This is a keeper thank you!!! The coconut extract truly adds to the deliciousness.
I’m so happy everyone enjoyed it Carrie! The coconut gets me every time :) Thank you for reviewing!
These are SO good, and so much easier than sugar cookies (which I NEVER make anymore, as I’m just too impatient and have other stuff that HAS to be done!). They are even amazing naked. They taste like better-than-most spritz cookies, which I adore, but are also quite time consuming. Thanks for this awesomeness!!!
I’m so glad you liked the bars Nancy! And I’m with you, as much as I love sugar cookies, I can only make them every so often because they are so much work! Bars are the answer! ;) Thanks so much for reviewing!
Should tell you I also made the chewy chocolate chip recipe. I used the big scoop because my husband likes big cookies…baked for 14 minutes instead of 11…. tried to use the two spoons as suggested, but the cookies didn’t move…perhaps if I had less baking time, it would have…BUT…we had a visitor who arrived just as I was taking the first lot out pot the oven….and he said…how did you make them chewy?..my mom’s are always crunchy…
So there you go…
There you go, chewy cookies for the win!! So glad it was a success Patricia, thank you!
Loved the recipe….I chose to double the recipe with single recipe of frosting. Of course, it’s yummier with more icing, but single was about right for us.
Taking some to a meeting
Love all your recipes!
A grandmother in British Columbia, Canada
I’m so glad you enjoyed the bars Patricia! Good idea doubling it! Did you bake it in a sheet pan or did you just use 2 pans? Thanks so much for commenting!
These look seriously AMAZING!!! When are you going to make a beautiful, yummy cookbook??!! I’ll be the first to buy one!
Ahh you are so sweet Vanessa! Stay tuned for another 10 years or so, haha! I’ll get there eventually, just waiting for my kids to grow up so I don’t miss it :)