Funfetti Sugar Cookie Bars

I spent the weekend before my birthday last week cruising around the Finger Lakes, NY tasting wine, paring it with chocolate, devouring a brisket sandwich that I’ll never forget, and chatting away the hours with one of my good friends of 17 years.

Kristin is a friend I made my freshman year at college.  We lived on the same floor, became friends later in the year, wrote letters back-and-forth that first summer and then in the subsequent years after while email was still in its infancy.

I transferred schools after freshman year and went to Disney for a semester junior year.

We both graduated. Kristin moved to Maryland for grad school, I moved home and then eventually back to Connecticut for my own grad work.

And through all the years and all of the moves, we’ve kept in touch.  I say if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t still be friends.  I’m horrible about keeping in touch.

Funfetti Sugar Cookie Bars

I thought I would be writing this birthday dessert post about another dessert but alas and again, I’ve put off making what I really wanted to make.

That dessert really had more directly to do with Kristin than these funfetti sugar cookie bars do, and I’ll eventually make it, but these bars are still definitely relevant.  They are comfortable and simple.

They almost beg for you to have fun (the funfetti helps with this) and they are a perfect snack for a card game (hello hours of Phase 10 in the floor common room) or game night or a family bbq.

It just felt “right” to make these sugar cookie bars to celebrate my 35th last week, not only because I was exhausted from my wine weekend and I put off making anything until the following weekend, but because they felt good.

Very much like catching up with an old friend.

(P.S. – If you’re looking for another really fun and special way to celebrate a birthday, I HIGHLY recommend my very favorite Milk Bar birthday layer cake!!)

Funfetti Sugar Cookie Bars

  • Prep Time: 15min (bars) + 25min (frosting)
  • Cook Time: 10-15min
  • Yield: 3 dozen (2-inch square) bars


I have made these bars a handful of times now and always feel like they are better the second day. And because the batch makes so many bars, I’ve frozen part of the batch (baked but unfrosted) for a treat at another time.


For the funfetti sugar cookie bars:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
½ tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp sprinkles

For the whipped vanilla frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract (use clear vanilla extract if you want crisp white frosting)
Pinch of salt
Food coloring (gel, liquid, or paste), optional


  • 01

    sugar cookie bars

    Preheat oven to 350° F.  Lightly grease a 12×17-inch rimmed baking sheet; set aside.  Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl; set aside.

  • 02

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.  Mix in the vanilla, vanilla bean seeds, and lemon zest.  With the mixer off, pour the dry ingredients into the bowl along with the sprinkles.  On low speed, combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until they are just incorporated.  Lightly press the dough into the prepared baking sheet.

  • 03

    Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.  The bars will still look pale with perhaps just a little browning around the edges.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to allow the bars to cool completely in the pan.

    At this point, you can freeze the bars and thaw at a later time.

  • 04

    whipped vanilla frosting

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter for 8 minutes on medium speed; it will be very pale and light.  Add in the sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt and mix on low for 1 minute and then on medium speed for 6 minutes; the frosting will be very light and fluffy.  Blend in the food coloring, if using, until it is fully incorporated.

  • 05

    frost bars

    Frost the bars in the pan.  With a hot knife or stainless steel bench scraper (my preference), slice the bars into your desired size.  Remove them from the pan with a spatula and serve.  Cover the leftovers pan with aluminum foil – this also works well for transporting the bars.  Bars will keep for 2 days at room temperature.

sugar cookie bars adapted from: The Repressed Pastry Chef via Annie’s Eats | whipped vanilla frosting adapted from Sweetapolita

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Leave a Comment

  • beckiswholelife
    August 31, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    I make sugar cookie bars quite a bit, but I love love love your funfetti version. I grew up near the finger lakes – such a fun place!

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