Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sugar Cookie Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting:  (or you can just go easy and use a can of frosting)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch of salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons milk (additional as needed)
Food coloring (optional)

1.Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Grease and/or line a jelly roll pan (12" x 17"). In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until completely combined and fluffy (About 1 minute). Beat the eggs in, adding one at a time (scrape down sides as needed). Next add the vanilla extract and almond extract beat until combined.
2.In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until just combined.
3.Transfer dough into prepared pan and gently press into an even layer (I found that using a piece of parchment paper was helpful as the dough was pretty sticky). Place in preheated oven and bake for 12-16 minutes (until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean... the bars will be lightly golden on the edges). Remove from oven and place on wire rack until cooled completely.

For the Frosting:
1.Place butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment and beat on medium high until smooth (roughly 1 minute). Add vanilla extract, almond extract, salt, and powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until fluffy and smooth. Add food coloring if desired. Spread evenly over cooled cookie bars, add sprinkles (if desired), slice into squares, and serve.

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