Ah, frosted sugar cookies. The perfect, quintessential cookie for every occasion. It's great for parties, holidays, barbecues, potlucks, or just because you're craving a cookie. This recipe for frosted sugar cookie bars is everything you love about the bakery classic but there's no scooping, shaping, or rolling of dough. Just spread all that sweet batter in a pan and bake it up. Frosting these cookies takes about ¼ of the time, too. And if you're looking for a gluten or dairy-free option, this recipe's for you.
Tips for achieving a great cookie
The most important tip to remember when baking these cookies is to not overbake them. Let me repeat: DO NOT OVERBAKE! We've all been there. I overbaked these exact cookies during my third test run when I forgot to set a timer and was helping my son with sixth-grade math (make it stop!). When overbaked, these cookies come out dry and crumbly, and that's not the way they're intended to be. Bake these until they seem just set in the middle with hardly any color on the edges. That's what gives these cookies that nice, slight chewiness on the outside and a soft, tender center. They should look like this:
Frequently Asked Questions
Let's answer a few commonly asked questions about making these cookies:
I've tested these cookies with traditional flour, gluten free flour, regular dairy products, and nondairy products. All options turned out great!
My gluten free flour of choice is Bob's Red Mill. I love this flour because it tastes great, the texture is as close to the real thing as I've found, and it always yields consistent results when replacing traditional all-purpose flour. If you decide to use another flour you'll want to make sure it includes xantham gum or your cookies may come out dry and fall apart.
I had great results making these dairy free using Earth Balance Unsalted Buttery Sticks. If you have a favorite unsalted butter you'd like to use please do, but I don't recommend using the kind that comes in the tub. Those have produced varied results for me when using in baked goods, so I recommend sticking with a stick butter.
Add sprinkles! (optional)
These cookies are great with or without sprinkles, so go with what you like. Sprinkles are a great way to make these festive for birthdays or holidays, and they also do a great job of covering up any imperfections on your frosting. Good ingredients are the key to a good cookie, and sprinkles are no exception. Use ingredients that suit your dietary needs and taste great, and you'll end up with great results 99% of the time. I don't like any of those super fancy sprinkles with giant hard pieces. They just took away too much of the cookie's soft, tender texture for me. But, use what you like.
Storing these cookies
Since we're using cream cheese in this frosting I recommend storing these cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you have a baking dish with a lid, that's a great solution so you don't have to transfer the cookies. You don't want to cut these and store them on top of each other because the frosting will end up a mess. If you have to do that, use a piece of parchment paper between each piece. You can cut the paper to the appropriate size per cookie.
These will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days, but they don't usually last that long. You can leave them out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before eating to soften and warm up a bit.
Other recipes you might like:
- Dairy Free Blondie Cookie Bars
- Fudgy Dairy Free Gluten Free Brownies
- Vegan Gluten Free Pecan Pie Bars
Did you make these frosted sugar cookies?
Please let me know how they turned out for you! Leave a comment below and rate the recipe.
Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars (gluten free, dairy-free)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter Earth Balance Buttery Sticks are great for dairy free
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the frosting:
- ½ cup unsalted butter Earth Balance buttery sticks to make it dairy free
- 4 oz cream cheese Violife is great for dairy free
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For The Cookies
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl using a hand or stand mixer. It will take 2-3 minutes to mix, and you want to keep going until it looks fluffy. It might look curdled or separated at first. Keep beating. It will blend well and have a light, fluffy texture.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla, and continue mixing it for about a minute.
- Gently stir in the rest of the cookie ingredients with a wooden spoon until just combined. You don't want to overmix here or your cookies will be tough.
- Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Add in your cookie dough and spread it out evenly in the pan.
- Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes and then check them. They should be barely set in the middle and pale in color. You don't want any brown edges here. If you don't think they're cooked, continue to bake them but check them every minute to be sure you don't overbake or they'll be dry.
- Let the cookies cool completely before you frost them.
For The Frosting
- Beat the butter and cream cheese together until well combined.
- Slowly beat in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time and beat it for several minutes. The frosting should be nice and fluffy. Splash in your vanilla and beat it for another minute or two.
- Spread your frosting evenly over the cookies and enjoy!