Yes, you can bake these with organic only ingredients. Thank goodness you can find great organic baking products in your local grocery store. Well, somewhat local. I have to go about 35 mins to get to a bigger grocery store with more selection, but I have noticed that even our small town grocery store is picking up with adding in organic brown sugar, organic vanilla, etc. Sweet!
So, here’s the story. It was super early in the morning when I received a text from the pregnant daughter of my wonderful mail carrier. We have a rural route, so we’ve really gotten to know our mail carrier and even have become friends with her. She’s WONDERFUL! Anyway, her daughter was having her ultrasound that morning in Seattle and since she wouldn’t be able to share the news in person with her Mom on whether she was having a boy or a girl, she asked if I could bake something to put in my mailbox to surprise her Mom with the correct color. I immediately said yes, although I also had to be in a neighboring town close to the same time, so I got to work. I knew I didn’t have enough time to frost sugar cookies, since I had an appointment, but I made Sugar Cookie Bars instead, using pink and blue on half of each of the bars.
I enlisted my son to run the cookies down at the time we knew our mail carrier would be at the mailboxes 4 miles down our driveway. He was on alert as to whether he needed to bring blue or pink, depending on when I communicated the news to him. He was so cute about it! I ended up arriving just close to the time Sam, our mail carrier was supposed to arrive, so I had my son Jace meet us down there with blue sugar cookie bars.
We are so grateful to have been able to help make this day very special and surprise the soon to be new Grandma with the news of a baby grandson! She is used to girls, so this was a great surprise for her. So many tears of joy! I am thankful for the frosting help of my daughter, whom frosted while I got ready for my appointment. Talk about family badassery!
Sugar Cookie Bar Recipe:
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) leveled all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup (80g) rainbow sprinkles
- 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 and 1/4 cups (270g) confectioners’ sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- salt, to taste
- food coloring for frosting (I used 1 drop of pink gel food coloring and one drop of blue food coloring for this frosting.)
- extra sprinkles for decorating on top
- Make the bars: Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil, making sure to leave enough overhang on the sides. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Get it nice and smooth, then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. The dough is quite thick. Once combined, gently fold in 1/2 cup sprinkles using a rubber spatula (or by mixing on low speed).
- Press the cookie dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-26 minutes or until very lightly browned on top. You want the cookie bars to be extra soft, so careful not to overbake. Allow the bars to cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature before frosting. The center will slightly sink – that’s normal.
- Make the frosting: If you don’t want a super thick layer of frosting as pictured, halve the frosting recipe. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. I usually add anywhere between 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Beat in food coloring, if using.
- Remove cooled bars from the baking pan using the aluminum foil overhang on the sides. Frost the bars with a thick layer of frosting and decorate with extra sprinkles if desired. Cut into squares. Use a very sharp knife and wipe off with a paper towel between each cut to make neat, even cuts. Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator up to 5.
Make ahead tip: You can make these bars and the frosting 1 day in advance– store the bars, covered, at room temperature overnight and store the frosting, covered, in the refrigerator. Frost before cutting and serving. You can also freeze the unfrosted bars for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, frost, cut, and serve. I would have totally done this, had I enough advanced notice. Sometimes you have to just roll with the punches! 🙂