At first glance, I thought these were going to end up like little frosted cakes... however, we found that was not going to be the case! The dough for these tender, yet sturdy cookie bars is basically what one could use for a standard sugar cookie, flavored with a dose of pure, fragrant vanilla. Instead of dropping it into tidy scoops, we spread it all out into a thin slab on a baking pan.
You'll want to bake these until the dough around the edges of the pan turns a light golden and the center is set, which surprisingly enough, took about the same amount of time as a single batch of individual cookies! While I waited for the cookie slab to cool down, I used that time to gather the ingredients for the easy frosting.
You could use vanilla to flavor the buttery base of the frosting, echoing what's in the cookies, but I love the little unexpected zing when almond extract is used. Use what you like, or try a combo of the two! To the creamed, now almond-flavored butter, plenty of powdery confectioners' sugar was added, followed by enough milk to get the frosting to a spreadable consistency. Because we did this in bar form, rather than individual cookies, another benefit is you can frost the entire slab at once, then slice the slab into squares or rectangles.
You could leave the top as is, sprinkle them with a bit of sparkly colored sugars or pipe on a fun holiday design (hence their name!). As you can see, we went with the latter route by setting aside a scoop of the white frosting, then tinting half of it with red coloring and the other with green. Using a pastry bag, with a small round tip attached, we quickly pipped on a free-form tree design, alternating colors every other bar.
Christmas Tree Squares