Strawberry Cookie Bars with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
My daughter loves strawberry desserts and the bars were an instant hit with her.
And anything with cream cheese frosting is automatically a head above the rest in my book.
The recipe is very similar to my recipe Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies but made in bar form. I made those cookies when she was starting her first day of kindergarten at a new school and now she’s finishing third grade. Four years later and time just has flown by.
The bars are incredibly easy to make because I used strawberry cake mix. Sometimes you need shortcuts and the cake mix gives the bars exactly the consistency I want. Soft, chewy, and ironically not cakey.
You don’t mix up the cake mix as if you were making a cake. Instead, simply add one stick of butter and an egg before pressing the dough into a pan. It’ll be thick and dense, but the softer the butter is the easier the dough comes together.
The sweet strawberry flavor pairs perfectly with the tangy vanilla cream cheese frosting. I love that the frosting layer is nearly as thick as the bars. The bars are perfect for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, bridal and baby showers, and put me in the mood for spring and summer.
Strawberry Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
The bars are incredibly easy to make because I used strawberry cake mix and it gives the bars exactly the consistency I want. Soft, chewy, and ironically not cakey. You don’t mix up the cake mix as if you were making a cake. Instead, simply add one stick of butter and an egg before pressing the dough into a pan. It’ll be thick and dense, but the softer the butter is the easier the dough comes together. The sweet strawberry flavor pairs perfectly with the tangy vanilla cream cheese frosting. The bars are perfect for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, bridal and baby showers, and put me in the mood for spring and summer.
- one 15.25-ounce box strawberry cake mix (try Betty Crocker or Pillsbury, Duncan Hines is larger but likely ok)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very well softened
- 1 large egg
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (lite okay)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (sifted if it’s particularly lumpy)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sprinkles, optional and to taste
- Bars – Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large bowl (or to the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment), add the cake mix, butter, egg, and stir together by hand or beat with a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed until all ingredients are combined. (Do not use the ingredients listed on the box or follow those directions because you are not making cake; use the ingredients and directions listed in my recipe.) Dough will be thick.
- Turn dough out into prepared pan using your fingertips or a spatula to help press it into corners. Press lightly with a spatula to create an even, flat layer. It’ll be on the thiner side.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs but no batter. Allow bars to cool in pan on a wire rack for at least one hour. Make sure bars are completely cooled before frosting them or the frosting will melt.
- Frosting – To the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment) add the cream cheese, butter, and beat with an electric mixer on high-speedy until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and beat until smooth and incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Turn frosting out over bars and spread into a smooth, flat layer using a spatula or knife.
- Optionally add sprinkles, to taste.
- Bars will keep airtight at room temp for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week. I’m comfortable storing items with cream cheese frosting at room temp, but if you’re not, store in the fridge noting bars will be more prone to drying out in the fridge.
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