Bar Cookies

Sugar Cookie Bars

Wow – what an amazing evening last night – I had three hours of uninterrupted, completely solitary, thoroughly enjoyable baking bliss.

What did I accomplish? Well, let’s see……I cut and baked all the pieces for two gingerbread houses, made three large snowflakes, four pine cone trees and five gingerbread men. And don’t forget the four graham cracker cottages I put together.

It was sheer heaven, I tell you. I don’t get that kind of “free” time very often, so I have to seize the moment when it’s available. Tonight I hope to actually assemble the houses. Then I can start thinking about decorations ….

In the meantime, here is a variation of the traditional sugar cookie that is synonymous with Christmas time, only in a faster-but-just-as-tasty-format. Just the smell of these baking, along with the ubiquitous powdered sugar frosting, transported me right back to my childhood…..

And I’ll tell you a little secret ….. these are better when they sit overnight – covered of course – the frosting softens the bars so they become a bit like the “Lofthouse” soft frosted-style cookies that you can find at the market.

But much, much better.

Sugar Cookie Bars – adapted from High Heels and Grills

Cookies:

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract (next time I’ll use 2)

Frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Several drops of food coloring (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add egg and beat to combine. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until completely blended. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture – mix only until the dough comes together. Spread the batter into the greased baking dish with an offset spatula.
Bake 17-20 minutes, or until edges become lightly golden. Set aside to cool completely.

FROSTING: In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter, powdered sugar, and milk until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Add food coloring until desired color. Frost your cooled cookie bars evenly, and cut into squares.

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