Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Confession time: I like to bake.  I like to bake when I get stressed out – and normally I send the results in to work with KB after just a little taste.  I suppose that’s really not the best thing to do around weigh in time though, but it’s better than having it around the house!

I’ve always liked red velvet.  The one thing about red velvet that has always perplexed me is the fact that it’s actually chocolate.  But it’s not an overly-chocolate flavor.   And it’s so red.  Which is probably why I like it.  I’ve seen people make blue velvet and green velvet, but I always liked the traditional red velvet.  My favorite is red velvet cake or red velvet cupcakes.  But I did happen to make some red velvet brownies earlier this year that were particularly delicious.

Anyways, while on Pinterest the other day, I came across a recipe for red velvet sugar cookie bars with cream cheese frosting that looked intriguing and I decided to try them.  I didn’t change anything, except I used bourbon vanilla sugar on the top for decoration/texture.  I found the original recipe here:

Start by placing butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix until creamy.


Add eggs.


Add vanilla and red food coloring.  Here is where you could change the color I think.  But red is legit.


Add flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder.


Mix to combine.


Press into a 9 x 13 aluminum foil lined pan sprayed with baking spray.


Bake for about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile make the frosting.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the cream cheese and butter.  Beat until combined.


Add powdered sugar, a sprinkle of salt and vanilla.


Beat until glossy.


Spread on the cooled cookie bars.


Sprinkle with bourbon vanilla sugar.


Cut into bars and serve.  It’s easiest to cut these when they have been refrigerated.



Red velvet sugar cookie bars:
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 oz red food coloring (about 2 Tablespoons)
3 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream cheese frosting:
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
sprinkle of salt

bourbon vanilla sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs.  Add vanilla and red food coloring and mix until thoroughly combined.  Scrape sides to incorporate all batter.  Then add in flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder.  Mix until combined.  Press dough into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish that has been lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with baking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile make the icing.  Start by beating cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt.  Beat until glossy.  When the red velvet bars have cooled, spread the frosting on and sprinkle with bourbon vanilla sugar.  Refrigerate, cut and serve.