Move over chocolate chips! These Butterscotch Bars with Vanilla Cardamom Icing will rock your world! Made with staple ingredients, these cookie bars couldn't be easier.
Why you will love these bars
- Rich and chewy - Buttery butterscotch morsels pack these bars with a smoky, caramel-like flavor. Baking cookie dough in bar form creates crispy outer edges and soft and chewy inside pieces. The best of both worlds! Don't skip the vanilla cardamom icing - it's amazing!
- So easy to prepare - These cookie bars come together quickly with basic pantry staples. These fuss-free bars are as easy as spreading the dough in a pan and baking. No need to stand by the oven baking several batches of cookies.
- Versatile recipe - This recipe is a great base for any cookie bar flavor. If you're not a fan of butterscotch, add in peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, M&M's, or sprinkles.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Basic pantry staples -You will find the usual cookie dough suspects - butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Egg yolk - Adding an extra egg yolk contributes to the chewy texture of these bars.
- Cornstarch - Add a small amount of cornstarch to give the cookie bars a tender crumb.
- Butterscotch chips - I love the buttery, smoky, caramel-like flavor of butterscotch. If you can't find butterscotch chips, you can substitute caramel chips. For chocolate lovers, you can add any variety of chocolate chips. M&M's are delicious too!
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9x13 cake pan with parchment paper. (1) PRO TIP: Spray the pan with cooking spray before lining it with parchment paper. This holds the parchment paper in place while spreading the dough in the pan.
- Cream together the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. I use my stand mixer for this, but a handheld mixer works just fine.
- Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined, about 1 minute. (2)
- Add in the dry ingredients - flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Mix until just incorporated. Do not overwork the dough.
- Fold in the butterscotch chips. (3)
- Press the dough into the prepared pan. (4)
- Bake for 21-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only moist crumbs (no wet batter).
- Cool in the pan on a cooling rack.
Vanilla cardamom icing
There's nothing wrong with eating cookie bars straight out of the pan. They are totally delicious. But, then again, a little icing or frosting never hurt anything either!
Let's start with a simple powdered sugar glaze, Stir together powdered sugar, heavy cream, and melted butter. Add vanilla bean paste and cardamom. The vanilla bean paste provides wonderful vanilla flavor along with pretty little specks of vanilla. The cardamom is a little unexpected but it gives the slightest hint of warmth and spice. Drizzle the cardamom icing over the cookie bars for the perfect finishing touch.
If you're digging into a chocolate chip version of these bars, skip the cardamom and stick with the vanilla. Almond extract is also wonderful with chocolate.
- Pack in lunch boxes
- Serve as a sweet snack or with your afternoon tea or coffee
- Take on a picnic
- Bring to a potluck
- Add to a dessert spread or cookie platter
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Butterscotch Bars with Vanilla Cardamom Icing
- ¾ cup unsalted butter ((1½ sticks) softened to room temperature)
- 1 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 11 ounces butterscotch chips ((1 bag))
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter (melted)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper. (Note 1) Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugars. Cream together until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Mix until well incorporated.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just incorporated. Fold in butterscotch morsels. Spread the dough evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 21-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean (without wet batter, but may have moist crumbs). Cool completely in the pan.
- Remove bars from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 20-24 squares. Transfer to a cooling rack placed over a sheet pan.
- In a bowl, whisk together melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste, cardamom, and heavy cream. Mix until the icing is smooth, adding more cream if necessary to reach drizzling consistency. If icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
- Use a spoon or fork, drizzle the icing over the bars. Let the icing set up before transferring the bars to an airtight container for storing.
- Spray the baking pan with cooking spray before lining it with parchment paper. This will prevent the parchment from sliding around while spreading the dough into the pan.
- If desired, swap out the butterscotch chips for peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, M&M's, or sprinkles.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.
Author's note: This posted was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated.