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White Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookie Bars are the easiest and most delicious shortcut to sugar cookie flavor! You can’t get better than the simple but delicious, buttery flavors of these easy sugar cookie bars packed with white chocolate chips and topped with decadent Browned Butter Pumpkin Spice Frosting! A perfect fall treat that you can even make with gluten free flour.
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Cookie bars are the easiest and most delicious shortcut to sugar cookie flavor! These Sugar Cookie Bars with Browned Butter Pumpkin Spice Frosting have all the buttery, sugary goodness with half the work, plus creamy bursts of white chocolate chips. This recipe for soft and chewy dessert bars comes together super easily, with no chilling required! Just a versatile 13×18 pan and few seasonal ingredients.
And then there’s the frosting! Rich and nutty with a buttery texture, flavored with just enough pumpkin and a hint of warm spices. You can’t get better than this decadent pumpkin frosting paired with the simple but delicious flavors of these chocolate chip sugar cookie bars. This cookie bar recipe is a must-try this fall!
Are you gluten free? No problem! Just like my classic Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Bars, you can make these with a cup for cup blend that contains xanthan gum.
What You’ll Need
The simple ingredients list for these Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookie Bars make it a great recipe for easy fall baking! Here’s what you’ll need to make these fun and deliciously sweet dessert bars:
For the Cookie Bars
- Flour: All-purpose flour does the trick and yields the most consistent results. If you are gluten free, you can substitute Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Blend
- Butter: Unsalted butter at room temperature will yield the best possible cookies!
- Sugar: Half white granulated sugar and half light brown sugar for the perfect moisture and flavor.
- Eggs: Whole large eggs.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- White Chocolate Chips: The sweet centerpieces of these sugar cookie bars! If you are using the gluten free flour, make sure your chips are gluten free. For example, Ghirardelli is not, but Nestle Toll House is.
For the Frosting
- Butter: 1 full stick of unsalted butter, plus ½ stick softened at room temperature.
- Brown Sugar: Light brown sugar or regular brown sugar for that rich caramelized flavor.
- Pumpkin Puree: Note the real, pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling!
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: Find the premix in the local supermarket or make your own blend of spices. See the below Tips for Success to learn how.
- Powdered Sugar: For a smooth frosting texture.
Satisfying a sugar cookie craving has never been easier with these quick steps:
Prep a Pan: While the oven is preheating to 375°F, prepare a 13×18 inch pan by greasing it with cooking spray or lining it with parchment paper. Parchment paper makes the bars easier to remove!
Combine the Dry Ingredients: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda (sifting is optional). Set this aside for the time being.
Combine the Butter, Sugars, and Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, you’ll cream together the butter and both white and brown sugars until light and fluffy. For best results, next add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each egg. Add the vanilla last and keep mixing until everything is completely combined.
Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients: Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, continuing to mix until just combined. Be mindful to not overmix as this will lead to tougher, chewier cookies! Lastly, finish off the batter by stirring in the white chocolate chips.
Bake: Spread out the dough on the prepared pan. I found that spraying a spatula (and even my hand) with a light layer of cooking spray can make this step easier! Once the batter is in an even layer, bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
While you wait for your sugar cookie bars to cool completely, get started on the frosting!
To Make the Frosting
Brown the Butter: To start the frosting, melt one stick of butter over medium-low heat. Continue to cook out the butter until you have a golden brown color and rich, nutty smell. Once the butter is browned, leave it to cool to room temperature.
Combine the Other Ingredients: In a bowl, cream together the softened ½ stick of butter with the light brown sugar. Beat in the browned butter, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice until combined.
Add Powdered Sugar: Finally, add in the powdered sugar a little at a time, beating the frosting until it’s thick and fluffy.
Once your cookie bars have cooled, top them with a generous layer of silky frosting before cutting them into squares.
Tips for Success
- Line the Pan: Lining the pan with parchment paper makes for super easy removal after baking (not to mention less clean up!).
- Keep and Eye When Cooking the Butter: Don’t be intimidated by the browned butter frosting! Err on the side of getting the butter just barely browned, keeping in mind that it will brown more in the warm pan after it’s removed from the heat. Keep an extra close eye when cooking the butter to ensure it doesn’t burn and you’ll be positively golden (just like your browned butter!)
- Make Ahead: Both the chocolate chip cookie bars and the frosting can be made ahead separately a day or two in advance. Keep the cookie bars at room temperature and the frosting in the fridge until you’re ready to frost, cut, and serve them.
- Double the Recipe: These easy sugar cookie bars are great for larger get togethers and special occasions! Simply double the recipe for the bars and the frosting. You can also adapt this dessert bars recipe to a sheet pan, keeping in mind that the baking time will be shorter.
You can keep this recipe simple or mix it up to different tastes. Here are some suggestions for cookie and frosting variations.
Instead of White Chocolate Chips (or in addition to!):
- Milk or dark chocolate chips
- Crushed nuts (like pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts)
- Toffee bits
- M&Ms, small candies
- Or just a plain and simple sugar cookie!
- Homemade Vanilla Frosting or Chocolate Frosting
- Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting
- Caramel or chocolate sauce
- Cinnamon sugar
This really is the most versatile dessert recipe. Decorate your sugar cookie bars with sprinkles, chocolate shavings, candies and more!
How to Store Leftovers
These Sugar Cookie Bars can be kept and stored in the same pan they were baked in! Just cover the pan snuggly with foil or place the whole thing in a resealable bag if it fits. Otherwise, you can also store the cookie bars in an airtight container (use parchment paper between the layers). They’ll keep in the fridge for up to a week!
Can I Freeze These?
Sugar Cookie Bars freeze incredibly well! Place the baked (and even frosted) cookie bars into a freezer-safe, airtight container, using parchment paper to separate the layers if needed. You can keep them frozen for up to 3 months! Just thaw the bars overnight with the lid on the container (to retain moisture!), and serve them cold or at room temperature. Alternatively, you can freeze the unfrosted bars and then frost and serve them after they’ve thawed.
More Easy Dessert Bars to Try
If you love dessert bars, here are more easy baking ideas to try:
- Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
- Peanut Butter Frosted Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookie Bars
- White Chocolate Salted Caramel Gooey Bars
- No-Bake Gluten Free Cheesecake Bars
- Butter Pecan M&M’s Magic Bars
For the cookies:
- 5 cups all-purpose flour or gluten free 1-to-1 flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
For the frosting:
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided, ½ stick at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 3 1/2-4 cups powdered sugar
For the cookies:
- Preheat your oven to 375°F and grease or line a 13×18 inch baking pan with parchment paper (I use the parchment to make them easier to remove).
- Sift or whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
- Combine the butter and sugars in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and cream with stand mixed or hand mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
- Add the vanilla and mix well.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, mixing until just combined.
- Stir in the white chocolate chips.
- Spread the dough on the prepared pan (I spray a spatula and sometimes my hand with cooking spray to do this).
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean (it won’t look done, so use the toothpick test).
- Cool completely, then frost and decorate as desired.
- Cut into small squares.
For the frosting:
- Slowly melt one stick of the butter in a pan over medium-low heat, then cook slowly until butter is golden brown and smells nutty. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Place remaining softened ½ stick of butter and light brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until creamy.
- Slowly beat in the browned butter, then add the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, beating until combined.
- Gradually add 3 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar and beat until thick and fluffy, adding additional powdered sugar if needed to achieve the desired consistency.