Vanilla bean cookie bars are sweet and delicious, thanks to plenty of vanilla beans.
Clearly I’m obsessed with vanilla beans. This is nothing that we do not already know. Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese, Vanilla Bean Buttercream, Vanilla Granola, Vanilla Bean Butter, Vanilla Bean Candied Walnuts, vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. Should I go on? Because there are also meringues, and pancakes…and…
Or perhaps I should seek treatment?
Vanilla bean lovers anonymous. Who’s coming with me?
I just love seeing those little specks of vanilla in whatever I’m eating. (PS: these are my favorite vanilla beans – they’re consistently good!) It’s pretty much a promise that whatever you’re about to put into your mouth is going to taste great.
Moreover, these vanilla bean cookie bars look so pretty and classy. That’s what makes these cookie bars perfect for a party or a Mother’s Day brunch. Girly, feminine and so full of fragrant vanilla.
Not into pink? Go more traditional and omit the food coloring for a classic white look. I think vanilla bean cookie bars are perfect in their pure white form for a bridal shower with pearly sprinkles or colored sugar to match the wedding colors.
Vanilla bean cookie bars consist of two layers: a vanilla cookie base that is baked and cooled, and a thick buttercream frosting layer that can be tinted with food coloring, if desired. Oh, I guess there are three layers! Sprinkles, colored sugar, jimmies, whatever you like to decorate with.
Vanilla bean cookie bars are so versatile and fun–customize the colors to match the occasion. Enjoy!
The difference between bar cookies (sometimes just called “bars”) and regular cookies is how they are baked. The dough can be quite similar. Regular cookies are made of dough that is formed into balls or dropped by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and baked. In contrast, bar cookie dough is pressed into a baking pan, baked, and cut into individual squares or diamonds. If you’re in a hurry, bake bar cookies since they are baked all at once in one pan.
You’ll notice that I call these vanilla bean cookie bars, not bar cookies. The two terms are interchangeable and I like cookie bars for this recipe because they are basically a giant frosted vanilla cookie.
It depends somewhat on the recipe. If the cookie bars have a cream cheese element, like these Frosted Oreo Cookie Bars, definitely refrigerate them. If not, you could store the bars in a resealable container.
Most bars can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
Knowing when cookie bars are done can be a little trickier than normal cookies.
You don’t want to overbake a cookie bar because they harden as they cool. Check to see if they are set in the middle (firm, not gooey) and golden brown around the edges.
More Delicious Bar Recipes
Here’s a few of my favorites. You simply have to try the blondies if you like the vanilla bean cookie bars.
- Snickerdoodle Bars Recipe
- Raspberry White Chocolate Blondies
- Red Velvet Gooey Butter Bars
- Chocolate Chip Blondies
- Best Rice Krispies Treats (I have a couple of secret tricks to make them even better)
- Oh Henry Bars (with a peanut free option, too)
- M&M Peanut Butter Bars
- Peanut Butter Toffee Bars by Crazy for Crust sound really great, too!
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- the seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- the seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- gel food coloring (optional)
- sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×13 pan by spraying it lightly with baking spray, lining with parchment paper and spraying again.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together butter, salt, sugar and vanilla beans. Add egg yolks and mix well. Add the flour and mix until a dough forms.
- Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until firm. Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, combine all of the frosting ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until fluffy.
- Spread the frosting over the cooled cookie base and immediately sprinkle with sprinkles.
- Chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before slicing into bars and serving.
- Leave the frosting white, or tint it with a different color. Use whatever sprinkles or jimmies you like.
- Don’t have vanilla beans? Substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract in the bottom layer, and increase vanilla extract to 2 teaspoons in the frosting layer.
- Bars can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Separate layers with wax paper or parchment paper.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Remember to head to Monday’s post for a Hibiscus Pear Brunch Cocktail!