Gingerbread Cookie Bars Easy Recipe

Gingerbread Cookie Bars Easy Recipe 2021

These Gingerbread Cookie Bars are soft and chewy and topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting. Whip up a batch this holiday season!

Growing up we baked the same kids year after year. One kind I don’t ever recall baking was Gingerbread Cookies.

As I got older, with my own kitchen, and holiday baking agenda, I attempted to bake Gingerbread Cookies, only to be sorely disappointed. They didn’t turn out. Not quite how I imagined anyway.

In my head, I thought they would taste like a gingersnap cookie, but for the amount of work, I think I just wasn’t interested.

And it’s not like I mind baking cut-out cookies. These Cream cheese sugar cookies top our list every year, as a family favorite!

So a few years ago I baked a batch of these Gingerdoodles. OMG you guys, they have quickly become one of the most requested cookies over the holidays. Soft and chewy molasses cookies, like a gingerbread, should be, in my mind!

Know what makes them even better? When you turn them into Gingerbread Cookie Bars and cover them with Cream Cheese Frosting!

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How to make Gingerbread Bars

Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat softened butter with brown sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg and molasses and mix until combined.

Add the dry ingredients. Stir in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Mix until well blended.

Press cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Flour your fingers lightly if needed, to keep dough from sticking.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack.

How to make Cream Cheese Frosting?

In a large bowl, with a whisk attachment, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy for about 4 minutes. Add in powdered sugar and vanilla extract.

Beat an additional 3-4 minutes until fluffy.

Spread cream cheese frosting over cooled gingerbread cookie bars. Add sprinkles if desired.

How to Store Gingerbread Cookie Bars?

Personally, I store these cookie bars at room temperature in an airtight container.

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However, because of the cream cheese frosting on top, I recommend erring on the side of caution, and if you are going to have them around longer than a day or two, I would place them in the refrigerator.

Store in an airtight container and allow them to come back to room temperature before serving.

What kind of molasses to use for Ginger Bars?

Molasses important for the chewiness of these delicious Gingerbread Cookie Bars and the recipe calls for a 1/4 cup for maximum holiday flavor!

You want to use dark, unsulfured molasses for the best taste and sticky, sweetness. If you don’t have molasses on hand or want to cut it down, you can use honey. Simply replace all or some of the molasses with raw honey

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BEST GINGERBREAD COOKIE BARS EASY RECIPE:

YEILDS:PREP TIME:TOTAL TIME:
20 Servings0 Hours 25 Mins1 Hour 40 Mins

INGREDIENTS

2 cups + 2 Tbsp (300g) all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, diced into 1 Tbsp pieces, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup (220g) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) unsulphured molasses
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting

1/2 cup butter, nearly at room temperature (I like to use 1/4 c salted butter 1/4 c unsalted)
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, nearly at room temperature
2 1/2 cups (325g) powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter, brown sugar and molasses until combined. 
  4. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Fold batter with a spatula as needed until batter appears to be evenly incorporated.
  5. Pour dough into prepared baking dish and spread and press into an even layer using your hands. 
  6. Bake in preheated oven until bars have baked through, about 14 – 17 minutes (be careful not to over-bake). Transfer baking dish to a wire rack and let bars cool completely.

For the cream cheese frosting: 

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth. 
  2. Add in powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy*. Spread frosting over cooled bars.
  3. Cut into squares. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.

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Variations on Ginger Bars

  • Chocolate Chips: Chocolate and ginger are a tasty sweet combo. Fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips like white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, or semi-sweet chocolate chips into the dough.
  • Nuts: Add some crunch to these Ginger Cookie Bars with a 1/2 cup chopped nuts like walnuts, pecan, hazelnuts, or almonds.
  • Pumpkin Spice: For fall flavored Pumpkin Molasses Bars, use 2 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice instead of ginger in this recipe and add 1 can or 1 cup homemade Pumpkin Puree.
  • Flavors: Fold in 1/2 cup shredded carrots, sweetened coconut shreds, or chopped crystallized ginger for extra flavor and moisture in these Ginger Bars.
  • Chocolate: To make Chocolate Ginger Bars, replace 1/4 cup white flour with 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. 
  • Wheat: You can make these Ginger Cookie Bars a little healthier, use all wheat flour instead of half white flour. The bars will be a little denser but still very delicious and soft.

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