This easy recipe for vanilla mint sugar cookie bars is my spin on a shamrock shake for St. Patrick's Day. The sugar cookie bars are decorated with an easy buttercream and make the perfect treat for kids and adults alike!
Oh sugar cookies! If you've followed along for any length of time, you know my love for everything sugar cookies runs deep. I decided to put a little St. Patty's Day twist on my popular sugar cookie bars and gave them a shamrock shake makeover.
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Are you familiar with the iconic McDonald's Shamrock Shake? It was an obsession of mine during my teen and early adult years. It's a green mint milkshake and I remember it being incredibly delicious. To honor that memory, I wanted to create a St. Patrick's day dessert that wasn't chocolate and that mimicked the shamrock shake flavor and this recipe was born!
HOW TO MAKE VANILLA MINT SUGAR COOKIE BARS
You will love how quick and easy this recipe is! Thick and chewy sugar cookie bars with a hint of vanilla and mint bake up in about 10-12 minutes. All the flavor of a sugar cookie with the ease of a bar cookie.
First, preheat the oven and prepare a 9x13 baking pan by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set it aside. Then whisk the dry ingredients together, set aside.
Next beat the room temperature butter and cream cheese together until they are nice and creamy. Both a stand mixer or a hand-held mixer work great. Add both sugars and beat on medium-high until pale and fluffy.
Then add the egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts and beat until well combined. Scrape the bowl as needed to incorporate everything. Next add the flour mixture, mixing on low speed until just combined.
Press the dough into the prepared pan. I find using clean and lightly moistened fingers works best. The dough is thick and sticky. Bake the bars for 10-14 minutes. You DO NOT want to over bake these bars!! The shamrock bars are done when they are BARELY brown at the edges and the center will look underdone. Then allow them to cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack.
different ways to decorate shamrock sugar cookie bars with buttercream
This recipe has multiple different options for decorating and serving. In my opinion, the easiest is to frost them, cut them in bars and serve. Fancy them up with some sprinkles, if you wish!
Another option is to use a biscuit cutter (I have and love this set!) and cut the bars into circles.
I actually made this batch into small sugar cookie cakes by stacking two bars together. And darn, someone had to eat the tiny scraps that were left behind!😉
tips for making soft and chewy vanilla mint sugar cookie bars
- Use peppermint extract, not mint, the flavors are a bit different.
- To get an ultra soft and chewy bar, DO NOT over bake. I cannot stress this enough. The bars are still delicious when baked longer, but they become a bit more "cake-like" in texture.
- Make sure the bars are completely cool before adding the buttercream. You can speed this process by popping the bars in the refrigerator.
- To get sharp cuts on the bars, I recommend chilling the cooked bars and then slicing with a sharp knife (or use a biscuit cutter). Wipe the knife clean between cuts.
more St. Patty's Day dessert ideas
- Always Perfect Sugar Cookies
- Chocolate Cut-Out Sugar Cookies (excellent with the buttercream from Fudgy Irish Cream Brownies!)
- Fudgy Irish Cream Brownies
- Homemade Graham Animal Crackers
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- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
vanilla mint buttercream
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving a little overhang on the sides.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand held mixer), cream the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until nice and creamy. Add the granulated and powdered sugars and mix until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts and beat until well combined, scraping up and down the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and blend until just combined.
- Press the dough into the prepared pan using a spatula or lightly moistened fingers. The dough will be thick and somewhat sticky.
- Bake for 10-14 minutes or until the edges are barely browned and they look underdone. You do not want to over bake these bars or they will be more like a cake and less like a soft sugar cookie. Allow to cool completely in the pan placed on a wire cooling rack.
- To make the frosting: Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand held mixer), beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape up and down the sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar, vanilla and peppermint extracts and the heavy cream (or half and half). Mix on low speed until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt if you find the frosting is too sweet. You can also add food coloring, if desired.
- Once the bars are completely cool, lift them from the pan using the parchment paper or aluminum foil and frost. Then cut into desired sizes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 123mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 0gSugar: 17gProtein: 2g
The nutrition information is an estimate and may not be entirely accurate.