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Natural Sugar Cookie Bars

2012 must be the year for babies, because it seems every woman I know is either expecting or has just delivered.

With so many pregnancies, there is a lot of talk about doctors, changing bodies and cravings.

I personally haven’t experienced those unique pregnancy cravings, but I have a mom and a sister who have. It’s been awhile, but I remember my mom having one very distinct craving during her pregnancy with my little sister Chelsea.

That craving was for those brightly frosted pink Grandma’s sugar cookies. Every road trip contained a stop for a taste of those sweet cookies. As a seven year old, I highly enjoyed the trips to the gas station for one of those “pink packages”.

With spring approaching and Easter around the corner, pink frosted confections are popping up like daisies. Sugar cookies may be one of the most popular among these treats. Instead of the typical sugar cookie recipe, with the step of rolling and cutting dough into any shape your heart desires, I wanted to try another recipe idea I’ve seen floating around.

In bar form, sugar cookies take on even more sweet charm. These have no need for a rolling pin, pastry mat or cookie cutters. You don’t even need to pipe frosting. Baked in a pan and cut into bars with a simple frosting spread, these beauties get that much easier to make.
They could possibly become a new favorite treat to make for a crowd, like a baby shower perhaps?

They may not be Grandma’s cookies (which is probably a good thing!) but they have a lovely sweet taste and a thick sugar cookie texture that is pretty addicting all on their own. And if you are expecting, pregnancy just got better! These sweet bars fulfill the soft sugar cookie craving in a much healthier way. Frosted in a light pink with a touch of pastel sprinkles, spring festivities and Easter parties have another option for some sweet satisfaction.

Natural Sugar Cookie Bars
Print Recipe (adapted from here)

Cookie Bars:
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 cup Powdered Honey
2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Pink Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/8 Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest (optional)
2 1/2 cups White Spelt Flour

Cream together the butter and powdered honey until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and mix until well combined. Add vanilla, salt and baking soda and powder. Add the lemon zest if desired. Add in the flour, half a cup at a time, mixing on low until all the flour is incorporated. Spread the dough out into a greased 7 by 11 dish or a 9 by 13 baking dish for thinner, crisper bars. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-13 minutes. Be careful not to over bake! They should be light and golden brown. Insert a toothpick in the center to make sure it comes out clean if you are unsure they are done. Let cool completely before cutting and frosting. Frost with the recipe below.

Frosting:
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
2 cups Powdered Honey
1/4 cup Powdered Xylitol or Erythritol
Pinch of Pink Salt
5-6 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
2 dashes or drops of Stevia
Optional: Natural food coloring (It will naturally be a bit yellow due to the honey)
Natural Sprinkles (optional)

For the frosting, cream together the butter and powdered honey until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered xylitol and beat to incorporate. Add salt and stevia. Add the cream slowly until smooth and beat for a couple minutes until the frosting is super light and creamy. Add food coloring if desired. Spread the frosting over the cooled cookie bars and top with sprinkles.

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22 comments

  1. Hahah I swear everyone is getting pregnant! One of my best friend’s just found out she’s expecting a couple weeks ago :) These bars are too cute with the pink frosting!

    Also, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award :) I love following all of your healthy treats! I swear I drool every time I stop by! If you want to check out my details, they’re on my blog http://whippedbaking.com/2012/03/23/dulce-de-leche-caramel-swirl-cupcakes/

  2. It definitely seems like everyone in the blogging world is pregnant or is having a baby. Personally, I don’t know too many people.

    Those bars look perfect for Easter!

    • I have like 5 neighbors right now who are all pregnant… something is in the water. :) Thanks Kelli! I like the light pink for Easter. :)

  3. Baby boom 2012!! :P
    Those cookie bars look SO amazing!

  4. Yay, this is like the perfect post for me :D I need to try these out in the next two weeks while I’m still expecting, haha. And I looooove the pink, since I’m having a girl :D They look delicious, and of course I love the whole grains and healthy sweeteners!

  5. These bars look so delicious, Annie! What a lovely and relatively guilt-free treat! Also, you should enter the giveaway I’m having today. Four readers will win a bunch of lovely loot!

  6. These look incredible! And so easy :) I definitely need to pin this so I remember to make them soon!!

  7. Thanks Kate!! Please let us know how you like them if you do!

  8. Super Pretty Annie! I love the idea of these cookies for their ease and I wouldn’t want to dilute that honey flavour one bit. Is it easy to find powdered honey? I’ve never heard of it till now, so might try the health food store?

    If this is what gets served up at your parties, count me in!

    Catherine @ The Spring

    • Thank you Catherine! I know some readers who are in Australia have a had a hard time finding it- but I think you should be able to find it online. Also, if you look in your natural food store, it can sometimes go by the name honey crystals or granulated honey. If its this form, it’s dried, but not powdered, in which case you can just throw it in a blender until it comes fine and powdery. I also love buying it from amazon.com if you can do that. Thanks!

  9. Are there any substitutions you can make for the powdered honey or spelt flour?

    • Hi Lacey,
      To keep more of a traditional sugar cookie taste, you could try all powdered xylitol or maybe date sugar. The problem with xylitol is that it can be pretty time consuming to get perfectly powdered. Also, I don’t like using it in bulk in a recipe just because I think it changes flavor the longer a treat sits out. Date sugar or maple sugar might work well, but I haven’t tried it. You might love it in this though! I would also make sure to powder both of those sugars really well. My only other suggestion would be to increase the stevia to your desired sweetness and increase the cream just to fill in for the lack of sugar. I’ve also added flour and coconut to frosting (see our vanilla caramel cupcakes recipe) to try to decrease the use of other sweeteners. That recipe uses powdered honey as well, but it uses a smaller amount, so you could try using another sweetener and that would probably work well for these bars. Spelt flour can be subbed out for pretty much any flour- though the amount will differ. If you use white flour, the amount will probably be about the same. If you decided to use wheat, I would probably start with 1 and 1/2 cups and add slowly from there. Sorry this is so much info, hope that helps you!

  10. These look delicious! I’ve recently found your blog and can’t wait to try the recipes! Could coconut sugar work in place of powdered honey as well? Is there a dairy free substitute for the heavy cream! Thanks!

    • I’m glad you found us! :) Coconut sugar would work GREAT, however, it would really change the flavor of these. Coconut sugar tends to give a really brown sugary tasty (in my opinion) so it would probably be really tasty in these, just not that traditional sugar cookie flavor that I was after. I think it might end up tasting like a chocolate chip cookie, without the chocolate. If you need some more info on powdered honey, we wrote a post about it here.http://naturallysweetrecipes.blogspot.com/2012/07/powdered-honey-everything-to-know.html You can also look at our natural sweetener guide. Thanks!

  11. Could I use honey instead of powdered honey?

    • Julie, I haven’t tried it, but I don’t think it would work well. You might be able to get away with honey in the frosting, but it would become more of a glaze. The powdered honey is a dry ingredient so as to create bulk to both the frosting and the cookie bar. If you don’t want to use powdered honey, another good option could be maple sugar. I love the idea of a cookie like this made with honey so I’ll have to start working on something like that! Thanks!

  12. These are so so yummy!!! S soft and chewy. The icing had a small honey flavor but what the heck!? They have zero sugar at all!

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