I hope everyone had a lovely Fourth of July celebration. 🙂
We had a very low-key day followed by a delicious meal prepared on the grill, in Fourth of July fashion. This fun dessert was a festive way to end the day! The meringue icing was incredibly thick and fluffy; the pattern could be easily modified to decorate for any occasion.
This recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens. The cookies kept well for several days in the refrigerator.
Yield: 24 bars
For the Sugar Cookie Bars:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- Meringue Icing (recipe follows)
- red and blue paste food colorings
For the Meringue Icing:
- 3 cups Confectioners’ sugar
- 2 T meringue powder
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
- Coat a half sheet pan (15×10-inch baking pan) with nonstick cooking spray, line with parchment paper, and coat the parchment with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl beat butter with mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Add sugars; beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Beat in egg and vanilla bean paste.
- Beat in flour mixture. (Dough will be crumbly.)
- Pat dough firmly and evenly into prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile prepare Meringue Icing. In a large bowl beat Confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup water, the meringue powder, and cream of tartar with mixer on high 3 to 5 minutes or until thick and fluffy.
- Divide three 1/4-cup portions into small bowls. Cover remaining Meringue Icing to prevent drying out.
- Tint 1/4-cup portions with paste food coloring to make red, light blue, and dark blue. Transfer each to a small resealable (sandwich) plastic bag.
- Evenly spread remaining Meringue Icing onto cooled cookie.
- For firework “burst” design, snip a small corner from each pastry bag. Pipe concentric circles in different sizes with tinted colors. Pull a toothpick from center to outer edge to create the firework pattern; wipe or replace the toothpick between each pull. Repeat as desired.
- Chill, uncovered, 2 hours or until icing sets. To store, cover loosely with foil and chill up to 3 days.