Recipe: Christmas Funfetti Bar Cookies

Recipe: Christmas Funfetti Bar Cookies

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Patty Catalano
Dec 13, 2017
(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

By now we all know the history of Funfetti, a rainbow-hued twist on a boxed cake mix, thanks to the folks at Pillsbury way back in 1989. It was revolutionary because instead of using the packet of sprinkles to decorate the outside of the cake, bakers were instructed to mix them into the batter.

Today, you'd be hard-pressed to scroll through Instagram or Pinterest without seeing a joyful array of rainbow-colored sprinkles adorning everything from doughnuts to dips. When I need a quick Funfetti fix, I turn to the easiest treat around — cookies — and make them even simpler.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

What's the worst part about making cookies? If you said chilling and scooping the dough, then you'd be right, my friend. Let's skip that tediousness and take the dough directly from mixer to oven, only cutting individual servings after they are cool and frosted. Bar cookies are softer, more tender cookies — just sturdy enough to support a thick layer of buttery frosting and even more sprinkles. On that note, be sure to use jimmies (sometimes called decorette or confetti-style sprinkles) rather than round, candy-like nonpareils.

A Cookie for All the Seasons

Funfetti treats are simply the happiest dessert you can whip up in your kitchen. I dare you to try not to smile when someone hands you a cupcake, cookie, or piece of fudge with colorful speckles throughout. Let's not limit that joy to the cake at a child's birthday party, though; instead, whip up a batch of these easy funfetti bar cookies for every occasion. Swap rainbow sprinkles for red and green at Christmas, red and white for Valentine's Day, red and blue for the Fourth of July, and orange, purple, and black for Halloween.

Christmas Funfetti Bar Cookies

Makes 24 bars

  • For the cookie layer:
  • Cooking spray

  • 2 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    fine salt

  • 1 cup

    (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cups

    granulated sugar

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    almond extract

  • 1/2 cup

    sprinkles

  • For the frosting:
  • 1 cup

    (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    fine salt

  • 4 cups

    (1 pound) powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    almond extract

  • 2 tablespoons

    heavy cream

  • 1/3 cup

    sprinkles, plus more for decorating if desired

Make the cookie layer: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with a parchment sling, leaving several inches of parchment hanging over the 2 long sides of the pan. Spray the pan and parchment with cooking spray and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and a large bowl). Beat on on medium speed until fluffy and lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.

Add the eggs and beat on medium speed, making sure that the first egg is fully incorporated before adding the second. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.

Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the flour mixture. Stop mixing when the flour is completely incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add the sprinkles and stir with a stiff spatula until evenly distributed.

Transfer the dough into the prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer with wet fingers or an offset spatula. Bake until golden-brown around the edges and light brown across the top, 20 to 25 minutes.

Place the pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Use the parchment sling to lift the cookie slab out of the pan, then place the slab on the wire rack to cool completely. While the cookie slab cools, make the frosting.

Make the frosting: Place the butter and salt in a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium speed until lightened in color and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Turn the mixer to low speed and add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until incorporated. With the mixer still running, add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and cream. Increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the sprinkles. Cover with a clean, damp towel until ready to use. If the frosting starts to dry and develop a crust, simply beat again with the mixer until creamy.

Once the cookie slab has cooled, scoop the frosting onto the slab and use an offset spatula to spread into an even layer. Top with additional sprinkles if desired. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to let the frosting form a crust. Trim the edges of the slab if desired, then slice into 24 bars.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The frosting can be made up to 1 week in advance and refrigerated. Let come to room temperature and beat until creamy before using.

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrap in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

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