Gingerbread Cookie Bars

Gingerbread Cookie Bars

Um, can anyone else believe that Christmas is so soon?  I was looking at my calendar yesterday for planning purposes, and I did a double take when I saw that this weekend is the last weekend before Christmas.  Eeek!! I can't believe how fast the time goes when you get older.  Especially when you have kids, I feel like they grow up so fast.  Unless you are still in the infant, no-sleep stage.  That seems to last FOREVER.  But, moving on.

Gingerbread Cookie Bars
Gingerbread Cookie Bars

I have been baking up a very large storm in my kitchen lately (serious dirty dishes included).  I have some killer recipes that I am really excited to share with you.  Some sweet, some savory.  Just the way I like it.  I wanted to start with these gingerbread cookie bars.  They are my new favorite dessert.  I love to make gingerbread cookies with my kids, and we all decorate them for santa.  While gingerbread cookies are fun, they are a lot of work.  Making the dough, letting it refrigerate, rolling, cutting, baking, cooling, then frosting.  Ah!  A lot of steps.  So, I decided to try out a bar form instead.  Because who doesn't love a cookie in a bar form?

Gingerbread Cookie Bars

These bars did not disappoint.  They are seriously addicting.  They are soft, chewy, perfectly spiced and sweet.  I only frosted half of the bars because my husband claims to dislike cream cheese frosting (psht, it's my fav, so I wasn't going to go without!), and dusted the other half with confectioners' sugar.  Either way you like the topping choices, you'll love the bars.  Make sure to add these to your christmas baking!

Gingerbread Cookie Bars

Gingerbread Cookie Bars

Yield: about 24 bars

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease a 9x13-inch dish well.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, molasses and vanilla extract together until creamy.  Beat the egg in until combined.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt.  With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture.  Mix until completely combined.  Scrape dough into prepared pan evenly, pressing into the corners and smoothing the top.

Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the dough is springy with gently pressed with your finger.  (Make sure you don't over bake!  You will have crunchy bars instead.  It's better to under bake, because they will still be soft and chewy.)  Remove from the oven and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting*, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on low speed until the confectioners' sugar is incorporated.  Then turn the mixer to high and beat until light and creamy, 3-5 minutes.  Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled bars.  Cut into desired size bars and serve.  Store covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

*If you don't want frosting, just skip the step and dust the tops of the cooled bars with confectioners' sugar instead.

 

Source:  bars adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything, frosting from Lauren's Latest