Holiday Cookie Countdown: Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bars

Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bars 1_small

Bar cookies are a mom’s best friend during the holidays because they are fast. No chilling the dough. No standing over multiple cookie sheets and scooping out individual-sized servings. Just mix and throw it all into one pan. And you can still make the cookies look beautiful by cutting them into pretty triangles.

In short, bar cookies = WINNING.

(Especially if they’re these.)

A moist, tender sugar cookie topped with fluffy candy cane-dotted frosting? It’s holiday perfection, really. The quintessential holiday-ish, peppermint-y, red and white cookie bar — your cookie tray is begging for this one, I promise. I took these to the framing crew that is currently working on our new house and they actually hugged me. Awkward? Kind of. But hey, it’s the holidays :-)

Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bars 2_2_small

Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bars
If you needed to cheat and use a storebought cream cheese frosting, you could. Just stir in 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract before you spread it.

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream OR plain greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (OR vanilla extract)
1/4 cup finely crushed candy canes

Preheat oven to 375. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with foil leaving a 2-inch overhang on both short sides to use as “handles” later. Spray foil with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugars and mix until combined. Add egg, sour cream/yogurt, and vanilla and mix well. Gradually mix flour mixture into wet ingredients and continue to mix until the dough comes together and not crumbly.

Gently press dough into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 18-22 minutes until golden and the top no longer appears “wet”. Allow to cool completely.

When the bars have cooled, prepare the frosting. In a medium bowl whip butter for 2-3 minutes (no less!) until very fluffy. Add cream cheese and mix well. Gradually mix in powdered sugar until completely combined. Mix in peppermint extract. Spread frosting over cooled bars. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Cut into squares or triangles and serve.

Makes 24 bars.

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