Stop the presses: BRING THESE COOKIES TO EVERY EVENT SAID EVERYONE! Seriously, these Buttercream Frosted GF Shortbread Cookie Bars are one for the books. Perfect for any event, the cookie base is dense, soft, and just slightly crumbly. The buttercream frosting has the perfectly added sweetness and richness. These bars are melt in your mouth perfection.
A Bar for Every Occassion
It’s no mistake we are releasing this amazing cookie bar recipe for the Fourth of July, but what I love most about them is that they can be suited to any occasion. You can add various colors, sprinkles, or even fruit toppings (great example of a fruit flag design on this site). These bars allow your artistic side to shine. For example, my daughter Charlotte loves pink, so for her, we used pink frosting and unicorn sprinkles. She was delighted! The bars were beautiful and she was able to help me decorate them. If you have young children in your household, these bars are the perfect “lil’ helper” project. Have the cookie base and frosting ready, line the entire house in plastic sheeting, and let the wildlings have fun frosting and decorating (I don’t actually line the house in plastic, but the idea sounds revolutionary).
The Journey for the Perfect Texture
These bars are a staple in my household, but I usually bake them with wheat flour. Since starting the blog with my brother, I have become immersed in the world of gluten free baking! What I’ve realized is that 1-for-1 flour is great in many recipes and a flop in others. After countless trials to replicate the taste and texture of my beloved shortbread cookie bars, I was thinking the 1-for-1 was a flop. And then, like a fairy Godmother, my dear friend Stephanie intervened. Stephanie, being gluten free for many years, suggested a different ratio of flours than I was currently using, leading to the perfect replica. Her tips nailed it, the cookie base is just DELIGHTFUL; it’s buttery, rich, and crumbles at just the right time. It ticks all the boxes for an excellent shortbread bar. Yet, what is a shortbread bar without frosting?
Continuing on, what is a shortbread cookie without frosting? And I mean REAL frosting, not the powdered sugar and milk stuff (although that type has its time and place). We’re talkin’ buttercream… 🙌
Buttercream made with exclusively butter is undeniably the best type of frosting the world over. When you use only butter, it literally melts in your mouth, because the melting temperature for butter is incredibly close to body temperature (thank you God for this small gift).
Giving credit where it’s due, I have adapted these Buttercream Frosted GF Shortbread Cookie Bars from the Busy Baker’s recipe here.
The hardest part about these bars is not eating all of them before the frosting sets…
But really, the hardest part in making these bars is the time period between baking and frosting (I’ve messed this one up before!). Otherwise it’s a walk in the park. You don’t need a stand mixer and you really only need one bowl. In the video, I walk you through the frosting technique (in case you want to use my same design for the fourth). They cut easily and come out of the pan like a dream. Difficulty level = easy. Pleasing level = high. Travel and sharing level = dependent on your generosity.
Tips and Tricks for Making Buttercream Frosted GF Shortbread Cookie Bars
- For both frosting and cookie dough assembly, it’s important to have very soft butter. If you leave your butter out the night before making it, that usually works well (especially in summer months), but if your butter isn’t soft, check out the tips and tricks at Cafe Sucre Farine in this recipe. My aunt Chris has several suggestions that work great.
- When I originally adapted this recipe, I used only 1:1 flour. The taste was great but the texture was not quite right. Tapioca flour is very fine and quite easy to find. It’s worth it for this recipe. If you cant find it, you can use 1/2 cup of corn starch as a replacement.
- When mixing the frosting, the powered sugar is so fine it tends to fly in the air. Pro Tip: Put your bowl in your sink while mixing. Much of the mess will land back in the sink and make for an easy cleanup.
- If you have a smaller group, you can cut this recipe in half and put it into a pie dish. It’s super cute and reminiscent of a cookie pie/cake.
- If you aren’t gluten free and want to make these bars anyway, just replace the 1:1 and tapioca flour with white all purpose flour (2.5 cups), and bake at 375 for about 16 minutes (or until edges are starting to turn brown). Frosting is the same.
- *This calls for full fat greek yogurt, but if you only have no fat, use that and 1 extra Tbsp of butter.
- **If you don’t have heavy cream for the frosting, you can use milk.
- ***I like a glass baking dish for this recipe because I think the cookie bars look quite beautiful in them. BUT, many bakers prefer metal pans and that can be used as well. Just decrease baking time by 2 minutes as it should heat up and cook faster. If you are interested in knowing more about the differences, check out this article here by Bon Appétit.