Regular sugar cookies are already pretty easy to make, but this version is even simpler. No chilling, rolling, or cutting. Instead, spread the sticky, butter-rich dough in a big non-stick baking pan and pop it into the oven. Not only does it result in a soft, almost blondie-like texture, but it’ll save you time. You can bake two dozen bars on just one tray! —Grant Melton
Using an electric hand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and light brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. On a high speed, add in the eggs and vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract) and beat until light and fluffy.
Turn the speed to low and add in the flour 1/2 cup at a time. Once all the flour has been mixed in, add in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and and give the dough one last good mix.
Scrape the dough into a nonstick 13x9 baking pan or a jelly roll pan. Using an offset spatula, spread the dough into a thin layer to completely cover bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the dough has risen slightly and is golden brown on top.
Remove from oven and let cool. While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting.
For the vanilla cream cheese frosting
Using a hand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. On a low speed, little by little, add in the powdered sugar. Once all the sugar is incorporated, add in the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Turn the mixer on high and whip the frosting for about 30 seconds, or until fluffy.
Spread the frosting over top of the cooled cookies. Place the frosted tray of cookies into the fridge to let the frosting set, about an hour. Once set, use a sharp paring knife to cut the cookies into 24 squares. Sprinkle the top with holiday themed sprinkles and serve.
Grant Melton is an Emmy Award-Winning Producer of the Rachael Ray Show, food writer and recipe developer. He's a contributor to Food52, NYT Cooking and Rachael Ray Every Day Magazine. He loves cookies, cocktails and kindness.