Butter Bars with Chameleon Coffee Frosting

I’m sharing this recipe in support of Austin Bakes for Japan, happening Saturday, April 2nd!! Please join us at one of the five bake sale locations in Austin on Saturday starting at 10 AM. If you’re not in Austin, you can follow our progress that day via Twitter or our online giving page.

Butter bars with Chameleon Coffee Frosting

So remember when my mom and I threw a book-themed baby shower for my sister Beth? One of the things we had to make for Beth were butter bars with coffee frosting. This cookie recipe is her very favorite. It is a pretty straightforward icebox cookie, named for the butter in the dough, and the shape of the bar of the dough before the raw cookies are sliced.

This recipe is one of my favorite family heirlooms, and I love it more than any china or jewelry I’ve inherited. My Grandma Hakes (mom’s mom) gets credit for the recipe, and for three generations, women in my family have been making butter bars. Make that four generations! Beth had her baby in January, and Ella was in tow in the Snugli when we were making these cookies on Saturday.

My mom’s Butter Bar recipe card is a little tattered at the edges, and it lists ingredients in her usual way. She always writes in impeccable print the measurements and ingredients, in the order that they should be used. Mom’s instructions for recipes are always spare; here she writes “shape into bar, wrap in foil, chill. Cut into 1/4 inch slices.”

The notes on the bottom right of the recipe are in my Grandmother Hakes’ hand. She was on hand for the cookie making at Christmas 1996. I don’t remember the specifics of that visit very well, but  I always smile when I see Grandma’s notes on my mother’s recipe cards.

I’m not sure whether Grandma iced her butter bars when she first started making them. My mom developed this coffee frosting recipe, and our family has perfected it over many years of practice and testing.

I’ve given Mom’s frosting an Austin twist by using Austin-brewed Chameleon Cold-Brew coffee in place of the instant that she uses. I think the cold brewed coffee has a stronger, sweeter flavor than regular coffee that pairs perfectly with the toasty crunch of the cookie. In fact, the first time I tasted Chameleon Coffee at TECHMunch, I knew I had to use it in this recipe. Disclosure: the bottle of coffee that I used for this batch of cookies was a gift from Chameleon Coffee to all TECHmunch participants, so I didn’t buy it with my own money. Thanks, Chameleon Coffee!

I’ll be joining hundreds of other bloggers, bakers and local businesses this Saturday for Austin Bakes for Japan, a city-wide bake sale benefitting AmeriCares work in Japan. We have five locations in town, and there will be 24 packages of butter bar cookies at the East and Central locations. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that each package of cookie will pull in $5 or so, and my contribution to Saturday’s $10,000 goal will be over $100! Don’t the cookies look pretty on the plate?
Items at the bake sale have to be wrapped and ready to sell, so we packaged six cookies each on rectangular appetizer plates that Mom found at Party City. The plates of cookies fit perfectly into Ziploc freezer sandwich-sized bags (about an inch longer than regular sandwich bags).
Here’s what the cookies will look like on the tables Saturday.
Brown Sugar Butter Bars with Chameleon Coffee frosting (yields 4 dozen frosted cookies)
1 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Cream butter, brown sugar and vanilla using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add flour and keep mixing until it is completely incorporated into the dough. It will be thick and very crumbly. Divide the dough and shape each half into a log 1-3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap each bar in foil and chill for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 350. Cut dough into 1/4 inch slices and bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Allow cookies to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Here’s a step by step of the rolling, wrapping and cutting process:

These cookies will not spread much on the cookie sheet, so it’s good to put them close together:

1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons shortening
4 tablespoons Chameleon Cold-Brew coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 to 4-1/4 cups powdered sugar
Cream butter, shortening, coffee and vanilla using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. Spread frosting on completely cooled cookies. Top each cookie with a chocolate covered espresso bean, a few cocoa nibs, or (my mom’s favorite) a coffee flavored jelly bean.

Thanks to my mom and dad who bought the ingredients for these cookies, my mom and sister who made all the cookies and packaged them for the bake sale. Mom and Dad also gave $50 to AmeriCares through the bake sale’s online giving page. My sister Beth is going to be helping with the sale on Saturday. Rah, rah, rah Hutchisons, Decks, El-Farrahs!

10 responses to “Butter Bars with Chameleon Coffee Frosting

  1. Brillant idea to incorporate Chameleon Coffee in the icing. I hope I get a chance to taste these cookies. I feel it my civic duty since I’d be donating to a worthy cause for them 😉

  2. Those look so good!

  3. Kathryn – how special! I want to try these!! Love that you are using the Chameleon Coffee. These look great! 🙂

  4. This looks fantastic and what a great cause. But back to that icing… wow!

  5. I’ve been waiting for this recipe! Yum. Which location can I nab these at?

  6. Pingback: Bake Sale Preview #2 | Austin Bakes for Japan

  7. I remember seeing a tray of those! There was only one left so obviously they were quite the seller 😀 Anything with “butter” in the name is almost guaranteed to be a winner.
    The bake sale was SUCH a success; it was great finally meeting you! (:

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