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Author Notes: If you’re looking for a Valentine’s treat that’s perfect for two, look no further than Small Batch Sugar Cookie Bars With Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting! —Paige
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 tablespoons usalted butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice (liquid from a jar of maraschino cherries)
- 1/4 teaspoon cherry extract*
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Festive sprinkles or maraschino cherries for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350, and line a 8x8" pan with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the softened butter and beat on medium-high speed for about 30 seconds. Slowly add the granulated sugar while continuing to beat.
- Add the egg, almond and vanilla extract, and beat to combine.
- Turn off the stand mixer, and add the flour, baking powder and salt on top.
- Turn the mixer back on low to incorporate the dry ingredients. Don't overmix. The batter will look slightly crumbly but that's okay.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared baking pan, and press it flat with your fingers.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean. Let cool completely.
- Clean out your stand mixer bowl to make the frosting.
- Beat together the softened butter and cream cheese for 1 minute, until fluffy. Add the maraschino cherry juice and cherry extract and beat to combine.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time while continuing to mix.
- You can either spread the frosting over the cooled cookie, decorate and then slice. OR you can do as I did and use a shaped cookie cutter to create hearts or whatever you like. I then decorated them individually, but you do you. The scraps from cutting them out are free for snacking.
- * I used Watkins brand cherry extract. You can sub for vanilla extract if you like and it will have a very subtle cherry flavor from the maraschino cherry juice. If you don't want cherry at all, omit the cherry juice and thin out the frosting with milk as needed. If you do this and wish to have pink frosting, you'll have to add a couple drops of food coloring, as the maraschino cherry juice adds the color naturally. Shew!