Sugar Cookie Bars

I made these for an Earth Day “green” bag lunch seminar for work and they were a hit both at work and home (I may or may not have had one or two for breakfast one morning).  These don’t take a lot of time to make and you can adapt the frosting to any color that fits your mood or whatever special occasion you are making the cookies for.  The same goes with the toppings, you could use different sprinkles, chopped up candy, dried fruit, nuts, or coconut.  The options are endless!  These are perfect for pitch-ins and barbeques.
Sugar Cookie Bars
Makes 48 bars
Ingredients for the cookie bars:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
Ingredients for the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
5 Tablespoons milk (I used 1%)
food coloring (optional)
Directions for the cookie bars
1.     Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease a 13-inch x 18-inch rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. 
2.     In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
3.     In the bowl of a mixer, combine the sugar and butter and cream on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
4.     One at a time, add the eggs to the butter mixture and mix well after each addition.  Scrape the bowl as needed, while mixing. 
5.     Scrape the vanilla seeds with the side of a knife and add into the butter mixture, with the vanilla extract. 
6.     Add in the flour mixture, and mix just until it is incorporated.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
7.     Spread mixture into prepared pan.  Use a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to smooth the batter evenly.
8.     Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.  Remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a wire rack.  Do not frost until the bars have cooled completely. 
Directions for the frosting
1.     In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until the butter is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 
2.     Add the vanilla, salt, confectioner’s sugar, and milk.  Mixing until the frosting is light and fluffy. 
3.     Add in food color as desired.
4.     Frost the cooled bars, in the pan.  Add toppings as desired. 
Lindsay Lou
Slightly adapted from: Annie’s Eats

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