These Lofthouse-Style Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars are a deliciously soft copycat version that's made into cookie bars! Cookie bars cut down on the time spent shaping and chilling the sugar cookie dough and are texturally more appealing. This version and style solves the great debate on whether these cookies are the best or not! SPOILER: They are!
Around mid-February every year, Lofthouse Frosted Sugar Cookies are front and center at the grocery store for Valentine's Day and I seriously can never resist grabbing a box. I only allow myself these indulgent cookies once a year, fearing shame from those who absolutely despise these cookies... the audacity!
But the truth is... I love those soft, scrumptious, hot pink frosted, rainbow-sprinkled cookies more than I care to admit. Some of these reasons are exactly why people hate these cookies! They equate the softness to a chalky texture, the smooth pale cookies as unnatural or unbaked, the sprinkles a useless addition, and the frosting despicably tacky and tasteless.
The debate for this controversial cookie has been going on for years on Twitter. You hate 'em or you love 'em.
I LOVE THEM. LOUD AND PROUD. I heartily believe turning these cookies into cookie bars gets rid of ALL the issues from the haters! You end up with a super soft, cakey sugar cookie bar with plenty of texture, flavor, and browning.
The Ingredients - Notes and Substitutions
- Leavening: Baking soda along with the cream of tartar for activation and baking powder are both used in these to give it a fluffier texture.
- Sour cream: Keeps the cookies moist and soft along with a bit of tangy flavor. You can substitute this with plain Greek yogurt.
- Corn starch: Helps the original cookies keep it's shape when baking but I also think it's important for texture.
- Extracts: This recipe uses both almond and vanilla for a common sugar cookie flavor.
- Cream cheese: This is my secret addition for the buttercream frosting! I think it adds a layer of flavor to what some may say is an otherwise bland cookie.
How to Make Sugar Cookie Bars
Making sugar cookie bars instead of the cookies cuts down on so much time and effort! You do not need to chill the cookie dough to make it easier to work with, nor spend the time shaping the cookies.
Do not over-bake these otherwise they'll be dry and lose their soft texture. Start with room temperature ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prep by lining a baking dish with parchment paper and greasing it.
- Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, corn starch, leavening, cream or tartar, and salt together.
- Cream together the wet ingredients, then combine with the dry ingredients. You'll need butter, sugar, egg, the extracts, and sour cream. Once everything has been creamed together, gently mix together the dry and wet ingredients. The cookie dough is like thick cake batter. It's incredibly sticky and difficult to work with by hand at this point.
- Bake. Dump out the cookie dough into the baking dish. Use your fingertips to evenly spread out the cookie dough to all edges. Pop it into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. To know when the cookie bar is done baking, you're looking for the cookie to start pulling away from the edges of the baking dish. The cookie will have lightly browned all around, and will be set in the middle. It should bounce back when it's done, instead of sinking in.
- Cooling. Once the cookie bar has completely set, turn it over on to a cooling rack. Allow it to fully cool before applying any frosting. In the meantime, begin making the frosting.
The cookie bar has a hybrid cookie and cake texture that's utterly delightful.
How to make Buttercream Frosting
To make the buttercream frosting, you'll want to start with room temperature ingredients. Simply put everything in a medium sized bowl and beat it with a handheld mixer until it's fluffy and smooth. Add the drops of food coloring and gently fold it in until the color is homogenous.
Transfer the frosting into a decorating bag that's fitted with a star tip and following the instructions in the section "Decorating the Sugar Cookie Bars". Alternatively, dump out the frosting on to the cookie bar and use an offset spatula to evenly spread it.
Decorating the Sugar Cookie Bars
To make the rosettes, you'll want decorating bags and Ateco piping tips (specifically the star tip). For the sprinkles, I used the Unicorn Sprinkle mix (minus the unicorns) by Sprinkle Pop, but rainbow sprinkles are the classic.
For a romantic look, use a star tip to pipe the roses on to the cookie bars. Begin by making the larger roses in various spaced out locations. Start in the center and move in a spiral outwards until it's about 1-1.5 inches in radius (about five circles). Pipe medium sized roses in a similar fashion in larger spaces, and then smaller roses to fill in any extra gaps. Simply pipe a star to fill in the remaining gaps. Use about two tablespoons of sprinkles to decorate the bars.
For other fun looks, try other piping tips, use a few different pink hues for the buttercream, or mix and match a few pastel colors.
How to Store the Cookie Bars
I'm fairly sure the Lofthouse Sugar Cookies can last on the counter for months, but don't treat these cuties as such! They're free of preservatives so place them in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to a week.
Frequently Asked Questions
Lofthouse Foods was founded in 1994 and began selling sugar cookies with frosting to in-store bakeries in U.S. supermarkets. These iconic fluffy cookies that were smooth, round, pale, scrumptiously soft, and topped with vibrant frosting and sprinkles became known as "Lofthouse sugar cookies."
Sure! You can make Lofthouse Sugar Cookies without sour cream.
You can find the OG sugar cookies at almost any large grocery store, like Target, Kroger, Safeway, Publix, Walmart, etc. There are also several off-brand sugar cookies that are just as good.
A lot of people vehemently despise these sugar cookies because they are super sweet and their texture is so soft, moist, and smooth.
More Valentine's Recipes to try
Lofthouse-Style Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon cream cheese
- 2-3 drops pink food coloring
- 2 tablespoon sprinkles
For the Sugar Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and grease it.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Whisk together the ingredients.
- In a large bowl, cream together the unsalted butter and sugar together until light and fluffy with a handheld mixer. Add an egg and then the sour cream and continue to mix together the wet ingredients. Last, mix in the vanilla and almond extracts. Pour the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients and gently combine with a spatula.
- Dump out the cookie dough into the baking dish. Use your hands to spread it evenly to all the edges. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the edges have pulled away from the edges, the cookie has lightly browned, and the middle fully sets and springs back when poked. Allow the cookie to cool on a cooling rack before frosting it.
For the Buttercream Frosting
- In a bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the unsalted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, heavy cream, and cream cheese until the frosting is soft and fluffy. Add a drop or two of pink food coloring and fold it in until the color is even.
- Two ways to frost the cookie bars - Transfer the buttercream frosting into a decorating bag with a star tip. Pipe rosettes on to the cookie bars. Alternatively, dump the frosting on the cookie bar and use an offset spatula to evenly spread a layer of the frosting.
- Decorate with sprinkles. Cut into 8 equal-sized pieces and serve.
- Substitute the sour cream with plain full fat Greek yogurt.