Simple Sugar Cookie Bars

I’ve made these bars twice now, and though perhaps a bit on the plain side, the gooey-ness of the center cut squares is what made me come back again.

These come from Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar Life cookbook – origin of my forever go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe – and the recipes are much simpler than those from the Milk Bar. No specialty ingredients here, just simple (though sometimes strange) “home cooking” recipes.

These sugar cookie bars are apparently her grandmother’s recipe, and she says they travel/mail well… which, I suppose I can confirm. I’m moderately embarrassed to admit I may have forgotten about a tupperware containing a few leftover bars that sat forlorn for more than a week. And, well, they passed the sniff test and were still gooey and delicious when I bit the proverbial bullet and ate one anyway. If I get food poisoning later, I’ll update the post, but I think I’ll be fine and am pleased to inadvertently discover I could safely mail out care packages with these inside and have friends enjoy them as they’re supposed to be (not crusty and dried out).

One thing to note about these bars – when you bake them in a 9×13 pan, by the time you take it out of the oven, the dough will be puffed up well over the top of the pan – almost looking like it’s going to overflow. Then it falls as it cools and the center is the delicious, slightly under-baked part. The edges end up somewhat cake-y in texture, which isn’t my favorite but also isn’t something I’m going to let go to waste.

I’d err on the side of under-baking, as Tosi suggests. But I’m a gooey-cookie kind of gal.

Simple Sugar Cookie Bars (from Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi)

Grade: A-

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed or neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

for cinnamon sugar topping:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat the oven to 350° F and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on high until homogenous – about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla and mix until just combined – about one minute.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the flour, baking soda, and salt – mixing until just combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the milk until just combined, another 30 seconds.

Spread the dough in an even layer in the prepared pan. Mix together the cinnamon sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the cookie dough.

Bake for 20-25 minutes for a slightly underbaked cookie, or for another 3-5 minutes if you’re fond of firm cookies. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

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