Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sugar Cookie Bars

Oh boy.

So this is what I threw in the trash on Sunday.

I know.  It doesn't look half bad.  So let me explain...

Let's first talk about pan sizes and baking times.  We all can pretty much bet that if you spread a bowl of cake batter into a 9x13" pan it's going to take longer to bake and bake up taller than if you spread that exact same bowl of cake batter in a 13x18" pan.  Right?  A wider pan means the batter will spread more thinly, turn out shorter, and take less time to bake.  Ok.  So now that we're on the same page -

I stumbled onto this recipe on Pinterest (of course I did), and thought it was sheer genius and was about to accuse you all of holding out on me, because - quick and easy sugar cookies?  Yum city!  And apparently, all the commenters had been making these babies for years.  Where have they been all my life, I ask you.

So, I made the Pinterest recipe.  And it took twice as long to bake as the instructions said.  And they turned out sky high!  And dry!  And there was way too much frosting for the 9x13" pan it said to use.  Hmmmmm...  So weird.  The Pinterest photos looked amazing, and each little bar was short.  Like, half the height mine were.  Hmmmm.... So, I clicked to see where she adapted her recipe from, and lo and behold, the original had exactly the same instructions that I was jotting down as edits.  A bigger pan makes all the difference!  The original recipe called for the same bake time, but worked for the thinner spread of batter.  Of course!  And the bar cookies turned out thinner (and less dry).  Of course!  And all that frosting was put to use spread out over a much larger surface area.  Of course!

So, now I'm left here to wonder just which recipes I can trust?  I mean, the recipe I followed for these cookies obviously had some trickery going on, because there's no way she baked them in the pan she listed in her edits and comments.  So that means she must have done something whack in order for her bars to turn out short.  I'm guessing she chopped the bottoms off before her photos?

Who knows.  All I know is that now I'm a little leery.  And wanting to reassure each and every one of you that I don't do such things.  I test out at least 3-4 recipes every week, and the ones that turn out meh or just plain yuck never get posted here.  Why the heck would I want to give you bogus stuff?  I don't!  So, lesson (kinda) learned.

Right here, I've posted the original - and correct - recipe you want to make.  They really do taste just like a sugar cookie.  But when you spread them into a pan, they are soooo much faster to whip up.  And this recipe makes a ton.  Perfect for parties and get-togethers!

Buttercream Smooches,

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Sugar Cookie Bars
barely adapted from Recipe Girl

Cookie Bars:
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. (402 g) sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
5 c. (640 g) flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda


1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. (102 g) shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
4 c. (512 g) powdered sugar (sift after measuring)
5 Tbsp. milk
food coloring, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13x18" jelly roll pan with cooking spray and set aside.

To prepare the bars: In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Mix in vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined.

Spread on the prepared baking sheet. The dough will be just like cookie dough - heavy and sticky - so it’s best to spray your hands with a little nonstick spray and use them to help mold the dough into the pan.

Bake for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

To prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening together until smooth and creamy. Mix in vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until combined, then add milk & mix until smooth and of spreading consistency. Add a few drops of color, if desired. Spread over cooled cookie, then cut into bars.

Makes 32 bars.

         Click here for a printable version of this recipe

I chopped the bottom off the right one, and voila! it looks like the Pinterest photo.


  1. Maybe it's time to start a "Stop the Pinterest recipe photo manipulation" movement? I say we move towards honesty in our food photo picture like Sara!!! That's kind of whack that they would do that...

  2. sugar cookie bars - what a great idea. All the taste without the work. Thanks for testing and tweaking the recipe.

  3. Probably an honest mistake, 8 x 13 instead of 18 x13

    1. I totally thought the same thing; that she had typed in the standard 9x13" cake pan. But I went back and read through the comments, and someone said that it took twice as long for her cookie bars to bake (same situation I had), and the recipe girl basically just replied, "Oh, not for me!" So I'm not sure what to think? I just hate wasting all that butter! :P


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