Monday, December 21, 2020

Gingerbread Bars

Photo of GIngerbread Bars, sitting on a mitten-shaped plate

I bake a lot with ginger, since it is such a favorite of mine. This time of year, I make a number of different cookies with ginger and molasses. I don’t use molasses all that much the rest of the year, so it’s a nice ingredient to use in December. When I was sorting recipes early in the season, I was absolutely shocked that I have never made gingerbread bars. I had a couple of different varieties marked and ended up making these.

The original recipe called for twice the amount listed here and baked in a 9” x 13” pan. When I baked these, I had also baked some fruitcake bars and peppermint meltaways, plus I had a few other cookies on hand that I had made before that! Needless to say, this recipe was chosen as it was easy to divide in half and I baked the bars up in an 8” square pan. Thankfully, when I delivered Christmas presents recently, I was able to share some of my baking with my friends!

These cookies were easy to make, although the darkness of the bars makes it difficult to tell when the cookies are baked through. When they are baked, the edges start to pull away from the pan and the edges are slightly taller than the baked bars. The icing is a lovely cream cheese frosting, which adds a beautiful tartness to the spiced molasses flavor of the bars. The frosting remains soft as long as the bars are at room temperature, so if you plan to travel with these make sure that they are properly refrigerated.

Gingerbread Bars
1 cup + 1 tablespoon flour
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Decorative sprinkles

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8” square pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and molasses on medium until combined. Stir in the egg and vanilla. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour/spice mixture. 
Spread the dough in an even layer in the prepared pan.
Bake for 14-17 minutes, until set. Do not over bake. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the frosting: in a large mixer bowl beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until light. Spread over the cooled bars and top with decorative sprinkles, if desired. Store in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Cooking Classy

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