Design to Dish: Fresh Fruit Sugar Cookie Bars

red white and blue bars Melt” art print by Lindsay Megahed | Fresh Fruit Sugar Cookies Bars (recipe below)

The 4th of July is coming up this weekend, and we are knee-deep in cousins, BBQs, and family fun! My mom’s side of the family has a big get-together every year on Independence Day, so it was always a major holiday for us growing up, and is still one of my favorites as an adult. As a kid, the 4th of July meant swimming and eating popsicles all day, and sitting in lawn chairs (or more likely on the curb) to watch fireworks on the driveway. As an adult, it means getting to spend time catching up with family from far and near. And, of course, red, white, and blue!

I spotted this red, white, and blue art print from Minted (“Melt” by Lindsay Megahed) way back in March, and it has been on my mind ever since. It looks like bomb pops, one of my childhood 4th of July favorites! I wanted to make a sophisticated red, white, and blue dessert to go with it, and these fresh fruit-topped sugar cookie bars are easy, beautiful, and festive. And let’s not forget the most important thing: they’re delicious!

red white and blue 4th of july treats

Keep reading for this easy 4th of July dessert recipe…

Fresh Fruit Sugar Cookie Bars

for the cookie bars:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup crisco
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons milk

for the frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese (1 brick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar
fresh strawberries, washed, topped, and coarsely chopped (for topping)
fresh blueberries (for topping)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, crisco, and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg; mix. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to mixer and combine. Add milk and stir until completely incorporated. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of a rimmed half sheet pan (about 12×17″) sprayed with nonstick baking spray. Poke the dough 15-20 times with a fork to help prevent puffing. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until dough is golden on the edges and looks set in the center. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla and powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until the frosting is spreadable. When the cookie bars are cool, frost the entire surface of the dough evenly with frosting. Make sure to go all the way to the edges. Cut the dough into bars. I did 24 bars, but the cookies were huge! I would do no fewer than 24 bars, and maybe up to 36. Just before serving, top cookie bars with chopped strawberries and blueberries.

4th of july desserts

Find more of Melissa on her blog.

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