These frosted sugar cookie bars are buttery, thick, and chewy, and have a swirl of delicious dairy free frosting on top! This gluten free and vegan dessert is easy to make, and always a crowd pleaser.
Sugar cookies are a family favorite. We love to make allergy friendly cut out cookies in a wide variety of shapes each holiday season.
But if you love sugar cookies but don’t have the time to roll and cut out the dough, you might want to try these frosted sugar cookie bars. These have the taste of sugar cookies without all the effort!
These bars are thick, soft, and quite sweet with the addition of dairy free buttercream frosting. I think you’ll be surprised at how decadent these cookie bars are.
You could even pat this dough into a pan and use the frosting to write a birthday message on top, similar to my giant chocolate chip cookie recipe.
When you mix this dough, you’ll notice that it’s thick and not very smooth. That’s normal! The dough should feel kind of like modelling clay.
If you see a lot of dry flour, or the dough isn’t even sticking together, you will need to add a little more applesauce or even a splash of non-dairy milk. If you use a different gluten free flour blend than what is suggested, you may find that the amount of liquid required will vary.
What gluten free flour is best for these cookie bars?
I like to use my own gluten free all-purpose flour mix. It’s light and results in a delicious flavor and texture. If you have a blend that you prefer, you can try that. I do not recommend using grain free flours like coconut, almond, or cassava in this recipe.
How to make gluten free sugar cookie bars:
- Mix up the dough.
- Press into the pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 28 minutes, then allow to cool fully.
- Mix up the frosting, then spread on the bars. Enjoy!
Tips to make this recipe perfectly:
- Lining the pan with parchment paper is key to being able to get these sugar cookie bars out neatly.
- An 8×8 pan is perfect for these bars, but you could also try a pie pan and cut these into wedges if you want.
- If you are not gluten free or vegan, you can make these with regular flour and regular butter. If you can’t have applesauce, you can use non-dairy yogurt.
- You need to use vegan buttery spread or regular butter – oil will not work with this recipe.
- plain vanilla buttercream
- chocolate frosting
- skip the frosting and dust with powdered sugar
- dye the frosting naturally with powdered freeze dried fruit, like raspberries or blueberries
I love to use freeze dried fruits to naturally dye frosting. For this recipe, I used freeze dried blueberries from Karen’s Naturals. I just grind them up in my food processor, then sift out any large pieces. Blueberries create a beautiful purple color that’s so festive for a birthday or other special occasion.
Take a look at the video below to see how easy it is to make these:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Froste Sugar Cookie Bars (Gluten Free, Vegan).
For the bars:
For the frosting:
- ⅓ cup vegan buttery spread
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 4 Tablespoons freeze dried blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper so that there is an overhang on two sides.
Place the vegan buttery spread and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until fluffy.
Add the unsweetened applesauce and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Stop the mixer and add the gluten free flour blend, powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt.
If the dough looks too dry, add a little more applesauce or a splash of water. The batter should be thick and lumpy, but not dry.
Place the dough in the parchment lined pan and use a piece of waxed paper to smooth and press the batter evenly into the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-28 minutes.
Make the frosting:
If you'd like to use dried fruit to color the frosting, place the dried berries in a mini food processor and blend on high until they become a fine powder.
Sift them with a fine mesh sieve, discarding any larger crumbs. Set the powder aside.
Once the cookie bars are cool, make the frosting. Beat the vegan buttery spread until fluffy, then sift in about a ½ cup of sifted powdered sugar. Mix until combined, then alternate adding more sifted powdered sugar and a little water. Add the powdered berries if you are using them. I used about 1 ½ Tablespoons of dried blueberry powder to achieve the color in the photos.
The frosting should be thick and spreadable. Frost the cooled bars, then cut into 12 pieces.
Allow the bars to cool fully before frosting and slicing.
You don't have to frost these - you could drizzle melted chocolate on top, or dust with powdered sugar, or place sliced strawberries on top. This is a very versatile recipe.
Store cookie bars in an airtight container. They should stay fresh for 3-4 days.
This post was originally published in February 2017. It has been updated.