Almost everything that comes out of my kitchen around Christmas seems to be peppermint or peanut butter, but there are a few exceptions. These gingerbread bars, of course, contain no peanut butter nor peppermint. They are gingery, molasses goodness.
I first made these for a Christmas Eve dessert a few years back, and they were a big hit. We all liked them chilled. The cool cream cheese frosting and the slightly firm but chewy gingerbread made for a great combination. I seem to recall everyone thinking they “tasted like more” as the bars dwindled away.
The bars themselves don’t look particularly fancy or showy; they are quietly and humbly fantastic.
My kids have been asking to make gingerbread man cookies for a while, but I have actually never made them in my life. These gingerbread bars, some ginger cookies, and actual ginger bread are as close as I have gotten. I am not sure why we haven’t made the gingerbread men yet. Perhaps that will have to go on my list for this year. Does anyone have a good recipe to share?
Gingerbread Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the bars
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup (3 ounces) molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the cream cheese frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- optional: gingersnap crumbs for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Line a jelly roll pan (approximately 9 x 13 x 1) with foil or parchment and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside. (Tip: If you don’t have a jelly roll pan, I think this would also work fine in a regular 9 x 13 baking pan.)
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Sir in egg, vanilla, and molasses. Whip until light brown, 1-2 minutes. (Tip: I love to use my digital scale for things such as molasses. I can set the bowl on the scale and just pour molasses in without having to put it in a measuring cup and then scrape it back out. Just be careful to watch the weight as you pour because you can’t easily remove extra if you put in too much.)
- Stir in remaining spices and dry ingredients until just combined. The dough will be firm like cookie dough.
- Press dough evenly into prepared pan. (Tip: I like to wear a glove for pressing because the dough is a little sticky from the molasses, and I am prissy about getting my hands, especially under my fingernails, dirty.) Bake for 20-22 minutes until edges are barely starting to brown. Cool completely.
- For the frosting, whip cream cheese and butter together until smooth and well combined. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat again until smooth.
- Spread frosting on cooled bars. (Tip: I had some gingersnap crumbs left over from a recent recipe, so I sprinkled some on the bars to “fancy them up” a little.) Using the parchment or foil lining of the pan, remove bars to a cutting board and cut into squares. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. (I really like these chilled.)
Source: Lauren’s Latest