Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie Bars with Vanilla Bean Frosting

May 7, 2015

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These sugar cookie bars are also known as Very Vanilla Sugar Cookie Bars because they are packed with vanilla flavor. They are a classier take on that traditional kid friendly sugar cookie bar. Don’t worry though these are still most definitely kid friendly, but I can already tell you they won’t want to eat the Violas though :). The flower decoration is are totally optional, really I just added them for some color and in celebration of Mother’s Day. Yes these specific flowers are edible but really they don’t have much taste and the light taste is floral. It’s like the pretty fondant decorations you see on cakes, they look beautiful but does anyone really want to eat them? I personally am yet to find a fondant that I like, it’s just too gummy or paste-y or something.

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie Bars | Cooking Classy

Who wouldn’t love a fancy take on sugar cookie bars? Don’t vanilla beans just make anything more elegant? Those thousands of little gourmet flecks just make me happy. I love vanilla beans! These sugar cookie bars are soft, perfectly sweet, decadently vanilla flavored deliciousness and after just one taste they will most definitely leave you craving more. 

Note that due to a few reviews left in comments below I decided to adjust the recipe (as of March 6, 2016) and I actually changed it quite drastically – making them more buttery, therefore more moist and flavorful. I also added some powdered sugar in place of granulated sugar to give them a bit of a of a melt-in-your mouth texture, and I omitted sour cream. Try this version out, I like them even better than the first version! If you don’t want to pay the price for vanilla beans just increase the vanilla to 2 tsp in the dough and to 1 tsp in the frosting.

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie Bars | Cooking Classy

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie Bars | Cooking ClassyVanilla Bean Sugar Cookie Bars | Cooking ClassyVanilla Bean Sugar Cookie Bars | Cooking Classy

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Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie Bars with Vanilla Bean Frosting

A fancy sugar cookie bar made with sweet vanilla beans. Deliciously soft, cake-like cookie bar topped with a rich frosting. Garnish with edible flowers to keep their fancy flair going.
Servings: 20
Prep20 minutes
Cook15 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes



  • 2 3/4 cups (388g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (164g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (76g) powdered sugar
  • Seeds of 1 small vanilla bean
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup (113g) butter (I like to use 1/4 cup salted and 1/4 cup unsalted)
  • Seeds of 1 small vanilla bean
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (300g) powdered sugar
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp half and half


  • For the bars:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13" x 9" baking dish, set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt for 20 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whip together butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar and vanilla bean seeds until pale and fluffy. Stir in eggs one at a time then mix in vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture and mix just until combined (fold with a spatula if needed to bring it all together, don't over-mix).
  • Spray hands with non-stick cooking spray and gently press mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake until bars are set and no longer doughy in center, about 15 - 20 minutes. Cool completely, then frost and cut into squares.
  • For the frosting:
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter with vanilla bean seeds until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla, powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp half and half and mix until light an fluffy. If needed add more half and half, 1 teaspoon at a time (up to 3 tsp more), to reach desired consistency.
  • Recipe revised March 6, 2016
  • Recipe source: Cooking Classy
Nutrition Facts
Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie Bars with Vanilla Bean Frosting
Amount Per Serving
Calories 329 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 54mg18%
Sodium 109mg5%
Potassium 66mg2%
Carbohydrates 47g16%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 32g36%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 461IU9%
Calcium 27mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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  • Mari C

    I have now made both recipes. I personally like the sour cream recipe more. These were ok but almost tasted like pie crust, which is yummy too but I liked the previous recipe more. We will see what my guest think they may like the new cookie better. Thanks for the recipe. Such a beautiful treat for summer!

  • Lilou

    Can I replace the vanilla bean by a double portion of the vanilla extract?

    • JOe

      You could but not sure you need to double it and it’s not going to be anywhere near as good as with the vanilla beans. We love this frosting! I’m making it right now for my red velvet cupcakes.

  • Joe

    They came out great! We love ’em. Thumbs up from the Marietta,Georgia gang. I like the fact they’re sort of between sugar cookies and cake. I’m making red velvet cupcakes and using this great vanilla frosting on them,as well. Thank you Jaclyn.

  • Joe

    I’m making these now. Is the one picture of the frosting? The dough is super dry though I used the exact amounts you have in the recipe. Popping in the oven now…………..

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes that’s the frosting – the dough shouldn’t be very dry just a normal sugar cookie dough consistency. It is more dry than a chocolate chip cookie dough though. Hope they turn out for you!

  • Ashley A.

    For the benefit of other visitors, these were stellar even though I had to substitute cream cheese for the sour cream and vanilla bean paste for the vanilla bean and had to cut the recipe in half and bake in an 8×8 dish.

    I love your website and recipes. I discovered it a month ago and everything I’ve made goes on the “I’ll be making this for the rest of my life” list: chicken pot pie crumble, cashew chicken, Mexican street corn salad– a great recipe is like the best gift anyone can ever give me. Thanks so much for what you do!!

    P.s.– is your oven gas or electric? Mine is gas and usually I have trouble with baking recipes because of that…. But all your recipes keep turning out perfect!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Thanks so much Ashley! I’m so happy you have loved the recipes! I use an electric oven/stove (but I’d like to upgrade to a gas stove and electric oven because like you’ve said I’ve heard the gas ovens can be finicky).

  • Valerie

    Hey, I just made these, and unfortunately I have to agree with the last reviewer, Jaclyn. The frosting was unbelievably delicious! However the bar was dry and lacking in flavor. It was like a stale, dry cake. I’m not saying this to offend you or to be rude. I just think its important to have honest reviews. I don’t understand all these food blogs where in the comments section no one has actually tried the item. Its all comments from people who have not even tried it going on and on about how pretty it looks. With that said, I have tried many of your main dishes and they are superb!

    • Valerie

      Opps, I meant to say that I agree with the last reviewer who is named Karen. Not are Jaclyn.