Can we just talk about how gorgeous these bars are for a minute? I don’t usually use food coloring, except when the kids make holiday cookies, for whatever reason, but I couldn’t resist with this frosting. I felt that typical white frosting just wasn’t going to do it for me that day. So purple swirls it is! And then sprinkles! Sprinkles make everything that much more exciting and pretty. But anyway, now that we’ve established the beauty of these bars, let’s talk about the actual taste of these bad boys.
These definitely are a sweet kick, so be prepared. But in a good way. I brought down the sweetness a level by adding cream cheese to the frosting. Somehow adding cream cheese makes frosting addictive to me. I cannot stand frosting when it’s all butter. It’s too, well, buttery. I guess rich would be a better descriptive word? I don’t know, but whatever that perfect word is I am looking for, regular buttercream frosting just isn’t for me. If it is for you, by all means, make it buttercream! But I think you’ll find the subtle tanginess from the cream cheese helps cut into the sweetness from the bars. This dessert is super simple to make, faster than cookies, and would be perfect for a crowd.
Now, these bars would be great without frosting, if you’re into that kind of thing. But who doesn’t love the excuse to add frosting? I know I do. Or don’t? Either it was a long night for, or I just can’t think straight today. My grammar and proper thingymabobers are all mixed up today. As you can probably tell by my trailing story and sentences. Let’s just forget about formalities and proper things and just go make these dang bars.
Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups
For the bars
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sprinkles
For the frosting
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2 teaspoons milk
- food coloring and sprinkles, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the butter and sugar. Whisk in the vanilla extract, eggs and salt until smooth. Using a rubber spatula stir in the flour until just combined. Then, fold in the sprinkles.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan then place in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are a very light golden and just set. Try not to over bake, or the end result will be crunchy bars instead of soft and chewy. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
- While the bars cool, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth on medium speed, about 1-2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the vanilla extract and the confectioners’ sugar. Once the sugar has mixed in, increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, 4-5 minutes, mixing in the milk after 1 minute of mixing. If the frosting is still too thick, whisk in 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until desired consistency has been reached. If you want the frosting to all be one color, mix in a few drops of food coloring in the last minute of mixing.
- Remove the bars from the pan and spread the frosting over the cooled bars. If you want the ombre look, squeeze a few drops of food coloring around the frosting spread over the bars. Take a flat icing spreader or butter knife and slowly swirl the food coloring, starting in the color, then moving down the bars. Repeat until desired look is accomplished.
- Garnish with sprinkles and slice into squares. Serve or store in an air-tight container at room temperature up to 5 days.