Christmas is my cookie holiday. Every holiday seems to have its own kind of treats: candy for Halloween and Valentine’s Day, pie for Thanksgiving. But Christmas? Christmas is a cookie holiday. I often think if I look up the definition of Christmas in the dictionary it would look something like this:
Christmas n. 1. Jesus’ birthday in the Christian faith 2. A time to spend with family 3. The day to eat cookies.
Every Christmas I make sugar cookies with a sugary, buttery cookie frosting. They are the kind of cookies that, if eaten in excess, require the use of Rolaids. These, by far, are my favorite cookies of the season. I make them on Christmas Eve and look forward to eating them for days after the festivities are over.
My step-father-in-law, Mark, also loves these cookies. The first few years we celebrated with him I spent Christmas eyeing his trips to the cookie platter. Then I started making him his own basket of sugar cookies. It’s part of his present. Now, because I know he loves them so much, I make them for him on other holidays too.
That’s where these cookie bars come in. I’ve made the cutout sugar cookies for Mark’s birthday the past few years. This year there was so much going on around his special day that I didn’t have time to roll, cut, and frost a bunch of cookies. Right about the time I was thinking how I was going to fit it all in, I saw this post and a lightbulb went off in my head. I could use the same recipe I always do but make them into bars. Brilliant!
This is one of those oh-so-simple modifications that I know come Christmas Eve, when I’m doing a million other things, I’m going to want to do again. The bars are thick and sweet and so easy to make. Jordan chose the frosting color, not caring that they were a gift for a boy.
When you need a quick and yummy treat, make bar sugar cookies. (And then, if you’re like me and can’t control yourself, head to the drugstore and stock up on antacid.)
1.Preheat oven to 375°. Line a 9×13” baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2.Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl if using hand mixer). Beat at medium speed, scraping the sides as needed, until well mixed (about 3-4 minutes).
3.Spread dough into the bottom of the 9×13” baking pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until they just start to brown. Cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting
4 cups powdered sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
Food color, if desired
Combine powdered sugar, ½ cup butter, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix slowly with a hand mixer, adding enough milk for desired consistency. Add food coloring if you want tinted frosting. Spread over cooled cookie bars and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Cut into squares.