Sugar Cookie Bars – Easy Baking Recipes for Kids
Sugar Cookie Bars are one of the best easy baking recipes for kids! So simple to bake and decorate. Mix up the dough, press it into a pan, bake, and cover with frosting and sprinkles to customize this frosted sugar cookie bar recipe for any holiday or occasion.
Love how easy and fun this recipe is? Try Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookie Bars with Peanut Butter Frosting or White Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookie Bars with Pumpkin Spice Frosting! You can make Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Bars too!
Originally published on Dec 10, 2012.
Sugar Cookie Bars
OK, I know. I love to cook. And I should love having my kids in the kitchen with me. Holiday baking should be an enjoyable activity to do together. They can learn and we can have a fun bonding experience. Yeah, umm, OK. Have you met my kids?
Having them around sharp objects, open flames, raw eggs, or motorized parts is a sure ticket to the Emergency Room. Little fingers always end up in places they shouldn’t be. So I tend to stick with no-bake snacks when they are involved.
And forget anything that requires a delicate touch. Eggs are cracked by chucking them into a bowl. Decorating thin, delicate sugar cookies ends with the cookies in a pile of crumbs.
That is exactly why I LOVE Sugar Cookie Bars. If my kids can help bake them and make a total mess of decorating them, and they STILL turn out both delicious AND pretty, then you know this is a winner!
Plus, you can use a gluten free flour blend to make gluten free sugar cookie bars!
Why is this the BEST Sugar Cookie Bar Recipe?
- It is easy – sift the dry ingredients, cream the butter and sugar, combine it all together, press into a pan, and bake. No chilling, no scooping, no rolling, cutting. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool. And even the gluten free version working with a flour blend, so no need to buy multiple flours and starches, then mix them yourself in the right ratio.
- It makes a lot – some recipes for sugar cookie bars only make enough for a 13×9 inch pan. This fills a half sheet pan, so it is double that amount. Depending on how large you cut them, you can easily get over 70 cookies. Perfect to bring to a cookie exchange, share with family and friends, or package as gifts for the kids’ teachers.
- Frosting them is a breeze – no delicate designs from piping borders and flooding, and you don’t even have to use homemade frosting unless you want to. A can of storebought frosting works just and just needs to be spread over the cookies.
- Decorating is fun – any kind of sprinkles or colored sugar or nonpareils can be scattered over the frosted sugar cookie bars any which way they choose.
- They look as good as they taste – the kids can be as delicate as a rhinoceros and even after haphazardly covering them with sprinkles, once you cut them into bars, they actually look pretty.
What do you need to make sugar cookie bars?
- Flour – standard all-purpose flour or Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Mix.
- Baking soda
- Butter – at room temperature
- Vanilla extract – be sure it is gluten free, if necessary. I like Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla.
- Frosting – you can use your favorite buttercream frosting recipe or storebought vanilla frosting. You also have the option to color it with food coloring, if desired. This is slightly adapted from a recipe for Sugar Cookie Bars from The Girl Who Ate Everything, and she has a cream cheese frosting you can use too!
- Sprinkles, jimmies, nonpareils, etc. – we used Christmas sprinkles, but you can decorate these sugar cookie bars for any occasion or holiday.
- Half sheet pan – this is a 13×18-inch rimmed cookie sheet or baking pan. I like these NordicWare Aluminum Half Sheet Pans. I use them all the time for these bar cookies and regular cookies, as well as roasted vegetables or sheet pan meals.
- Bowls – you’ll need one for sifting the flour and the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl for making the dough.
- Stand mixer or hand mixer – this is a thick, sticky dough, so I recommend a KitchenAid Stand Mixer or a heavy-duty hand mixer.
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Sifter or whisk
- Rubber spatula
How do you make sugar cookie bars?
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
BRIANNE’S PRO TIP: You can simply grease the pan, but I HIGHLY recommend lining it with parchment paper. This makes it so much easier to lift out the entire cookie at once so you can put it on a cutting board to cut into nice squares.
- Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.
- Cream butter and sugar at high speed using a stand mixer or hand mixer until fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, then mix in the vanilla.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix just until combined.
- Spread dough on the prepared baking sheet.
BRIANNE’S PRO TIP: Dough will be sticky. I find spraying oil or cooking spray on my hands and/or a spatula makes it easier to spread it all the way into the edges and level it out.
- Bake for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean.
BRIANNE’S PRO TIP: The will still look slightly underdone on top, so do the toothpick test to see if they are cooked through. If you cook them until they look fully done on top, they will be dry. A little chewy and gooey is not a bad thing.
- Cool completely, remove from the pan if desired, frost, and decorate with sprinkles.
- Cut into small squares.
You then just need to store the cookies in an airtight container. They can be kept at room temperature for up to a week.
Can you freeze sugar cookie bars?
Yes, after you’ve cut the cookies and transferred them to an airtight container, wrap the container tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a plastic freezer storage bag. Store in the freezer for up to two months.
More easy cookie recipes for baking with kids
- Flourless Fluffernutter Cookies
- Monster Cookie Bars
- Almond Joy Macaroons
- Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars from Chocolate Moosey
- Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars from Chocolate, Chocolate & More
- Apple Cinnamon Sugar Cookie Bars from Lemons for Lulu
Sugar Cookie Bars
- 5 cups flour (all-purpose or Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (2 sticks)
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Frosting, storebought or homemade, and colored with food coloring, if desired
- Sprinkles, jimmies, nonpareils, etc.
- Preheat your oven with 375°F, and line a 13×18 inch pan with parchment paper (or grease it, but the parchment makes it easier to lift out the entire cookie at once).
- In a large bowl sift together flour, salt, and baking soda or add to the bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, in a large bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
- Mix in the vanilla.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly qdd the flour mixture to wet mixture and mix just until combined.
- Spread on the prepared baking sheet. The dough will be sticky. I find spraying oil or cooking spray on my hands and/or a spatula makes it easier to press into the pan all the way to the edges and corners.
- Bake at 375° for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean (they won’t look done, so do the toothpick test).
- Cool completely, remove from the pan if desired, frost and decorate.
- Cut into small squares approximates 1 1/2 inches x 1 1/2 inches. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze for up to two months.