These sugar cookie bars are also known as Very Vanilla Sugar Cookie Bars because they are packed with vanilla flavor. They are a classier take on that traditional kid friendly sugar cookie bar. Don’t worry though these are still most definitely kid friendly, but I can already tell you they won’t want to eat the Violas though :). The flower decoration is are totally optional, really I just added them for some color and in celebration of Mother’s Day. Yes these specific flowers are edible but really they don’t have much taste and the light taste is floral. It’s like the pretty fondant decorations you see on cakes, they look beautiful but does anyone really want to eat them? I personally am yet to find a fondant that I like, it’s just too gummy or paste-y or something.
Who wouldn’t love a fancy take on sugar cookie bars? Don’t vanilla beans just make anything more elegant? Those thousands of little gourmet flecks just make me happy. I love vanilla beans! These sugar cookie bars are soft, perfectly sweet, decadently vanilla flavored deliciousness and after just one taste they will most definitely leave you craving more.
Note that due to a few reviews left in comments below I decided to adjust the recipe (as of March 6, 2016) and I actually changed it quite drastically – making them more buttery, therefore more moist and flavorful. I also added some powdered sugar in place of granulated sugar to give them a bit of a of a melt-in-your mouth texture, and I omitted sour cream. Try this version out, I like them even better than the first version! If you don’t want to pay the price for vanilla beans just increase the vanilla to 2 tsp in the dough and to 1 tsp in the frosting.
- 2 3/4 cups (388g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup (164g) granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup (76g) powdered sugar
- Seeds of 1 small vanilla bean
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (113g) butter (I like to use 1/4 cup salted and 1/4 cup unsalted)
- Seeds of 1 small vanilla bean
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups (300g) powdered sugar
- 2 - 3 Tbsp half and half
- For the bars:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13" x 9" baking dish, set aside.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt for 20 seconds, set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whip together butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar and vanilla bean seeds until pale and fluffy. Stir in eggs one at a time then mix in vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture and mix just until combined (fold with a spatula if needed to bring it all together, don't over-mix).
- Spray hands with non-stick cooking spray and gently press mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake until bars are set and no longer doughy in center, about 15 - 20 minutes. Cool completely, then frost and cut into squares.
- For the frosting:
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter with vanilla bean seeds until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla, powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp half and half and mix until light an fluffy. If needed add more half and half, 1 teaspoon at a time (up to 3 tsp more), to reach desired consistency.
- Recipe revised March 6, 2016
- Recipe source: Cooking Classy