These bars were born of laziness. Let’s be clear about that. This is not re-inventing the wheel or anything, but I think it worked really well. I also want to emphasize that had I to do all over again, I would have used a coarser sugar on the top with a little less egg wash, allowing the sparkly sugar to really shine. I guess what I am trying to say is don’t be fooled by these cookies’ rather blah appearance. My family devoured them.
My favorite sugar cookies are those thick, chewy ones that are not decorated but rather only dusted with coarse sugar, or, sometimes sprinkles. I have a go to recipe I have used for years that I love, but each cookie needs to be flattened, egg washed, sprinkled… and I am still fighting this virus. I just wanted the cookie, darn it. So I decided to bake them in bar form to see what would happen.
They are awesome. They were a tad thicker than I would like, but this was a perfectionist complaint; my husband thought I was crazy. Next time I might use my 8X8 and 9X9 pans to get the bars just a tad skinnier. And, as I mentioned above, lightly brush the cookies with egg wash (Walter calls for heavy washing but that did not work on these bars, the sugar just melted into it) and use the coarsest sugar possible.
Sparkly Sugar Bars
Adapted from Carole Walter’s Great Cookies
3 cups (378 g) AP flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t cream of tartar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
2 large eggs, separated–reserve 1 white for the next sugar cookie recipe, you only need one for this)
2 t vanilla
2 T milk (I used a dribble of cream plus 1% milk)
2 t water
1/3 cup coarse sugar or sprinkles or combo (I dislike sprinkles but always do part sprinkles for the kids)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place a rack on the middle shelf. Line a 9X13 or 2 8X8 or 9X9 pans (see notes above) with parchment paper. It can help to spray the pan with oil first. Make sure the parchment overhangs the edges of the pan–you’ll use it to remove the bars to slice.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter until lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar slowly, taking about 2 minutes, and then cream for an additional 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks and the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, and beat until well combined.
On the lowest speed, add half of the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, and then add the milk. Finish with the other half of the flour mixture. Dump the dough into your prepared pan/s and press it evenly into the pan/s.
Whisk the water lightly with single egg white. Brush it lightly over the pressed cookie dough and generously sprinkle the dough with sugar and/or sprinkles. Bake for about 25 minutes (it may take less time with 2 pans), until the edges of the bars are turning golden and the dough has set . When you press it, it should feel like a baked cookie, not dough. Remove and let the cookies cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Remove from the pan by the parchment paper and slice to desired size.