Keep it simple, stupid.
No, I’m not insulting you (obvi!) It’s a little mantra that I try to live by. Life has a habit of getting so complex and difficult and just when you think you can’t take anymore, life throws you an additional curveball. At that point, you have two choices: break down and get nothing done or simplify and start tackling things one by one.
Perfect example: my life. I have a full-time job, a husband, pets, friends and family who (rightfully!) demand my time. I try to hit the gym 4 times a week. I’m starting up the blog again, thinking about taking some online college courses and seriously debating taking guitar lessons. Toss in some curveballs and my plate is damn near full. Some days I sit back and wonder how I’m not a hot mess. But then I remember, I try my hardest to keep things simple. Late night at the gym: dinner is gonna be simple, yo! Blog post to write: get up early and knock that bad boy out. Need to take pics of the brownies I made last night: grab my camera and run outside to snap a quick few before hitting the gym. Feeling run down: rent a Redbox flick and cuddle on the couch with my hubby. If something doesn’t get done: don’t freak, I’ll likely have time tomorrow and if it isn’t super important, it’s ok if it gets pushed off until I DO have time. Life is hard enough, don’t be the main culprit of making it harder.
Yet another perfect example (man, is my timing awesome or what?!) These bar cookies. You want sugar cookies but don’t want to cream and refrigerate and scoop a bagillion tiny balls and bake ninety million batches and then eateversinglecookieallbyyourself. Whip these up. Seriously. It’s all the goodness of a sugar cookie, simplified. Cream everything together, press into a pan, bake, cut, done. You don’t HAVE to frost them. You can sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar or go Plain Jane, I’m ok with that. Don’t wanna wait for them to cool completely (believe me, I understand) fine, don’t! Who doesn’t love warm cookies anyway?! Whatever makes YOUR life easier.
These burned up the blogs some time ago and I never gave them a whirl until I needed something sweet in its simplicity. They are chewy, buttery, sugary goodness. And there’s sprinkles. No wrong done there.
Sugar Cookie Bars
yields 16 small bars, 9 large, 1 HUGE (if you’re having THAT kind of a day.)
For the cookies:
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (10 2/3 Tablespoons) butter, softened
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups (6.37oz) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the frosting:
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond, your choice)
3 to 4 Tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan with foil taking care to leave an overhang on two sides. Spray with non-stick baking spray or butter; set aside.*
*Note: I used a 9×13-inch pan, adding 2 minutes to the baking time and it worked out perfectly. You don’t have to use the pan size specified, use what you have on hand and adjust the baking time accordingly. Let’s just say there’s nothing wrong with a thicker cookie 😉
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) combine sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and egg. Beat at medium speed until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined (or until the flour is almost completely mixed in).
Spread mixture as evenly as you can into your prepared pan with a rubber/silicon spatula. Bake for 10-12 minutes (don’t forget to adjust your baking time if you use a different size pan!) or until set. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.
To make the frosting: Combine powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter, and extract in a large bowl and beat at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, mixing on med-high speed for about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides as needed. Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, stop adding milk. BE VERY CAREFUL with the milk, only adding a little at a time! Remember: you can always add more, but you can’t take any away! We don’t want vanilla soup, do we? At this point, you can thoroughly mix in some gel food coloring of your choice to the frosting (of course I went with pink, I’m so predictable!)
Assemble the bars: Using the foil overhang, carefully lift the bars out of your pan. Spread the frosting over cooled bars with an offset spatula and decorate with sprinkles (if you’re fancy. Clearly I’m fancy.) Cut into squares and dig in!
Recipe from Land O’ Lakes via With Sprinkles on Top