These wonderfully-spiced gingerbread cookie bars topped with simple glaze are the perfect holiday treat. They’re easy to make and have a perfectly moist, fudgy texture that makes them absolutely irresistible.
Ginger is one of my favorite holiday spices to bake with. It gives desserts a subtle spiced kick and strong flavor that pairs perfectly with other warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. These gingerbread cookie bars are a simple holiday treat that can be made in less than 30 minutes and taste absolutely amazing. The dough is similar to a basic cookie dough recipe, but no chilling is required!
How to make gingerbread cookie bars
- Combine the dry ingredients. Sift together the dry ingredients so the spices are evenly distributed.
- Beat together the butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the wet ingredients. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla and beat until combined, using rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients. The last step is to add the dry ingredients and mix together just until incorporated.
- Bake. Spread the dough into a prepared pan, smoothing down the top. Bake for 18-22 minutes at 350°F/185°C, until the top is slightly firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, but not completely clean. Since the dough is quite dark to begin with, it’s difficult to use color as a gauge for being finished baking.
- Glaze your bars. While your gingerbread bars are cooling, make your glaze or whichever frosting you choose. Cream cheese frosting also tastes amazing with these! To make a simple glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. You may need to add more milk, a bit at a time, until you get a thick yet pourable consistency. Pour the glaze over the cooled gingerbread bars, letting it set for 15-30 minutes. To make for easier cutting, I like to put the iced gingerbread bars in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.
Tips for making gingerbread bars
- Use unsulphured molasses. To sweeten these gingerbread cookie bars I like to use dark, sticky molasses. This gooey sweetener adds a smoky sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with winter spices like ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Use unsulphured molasses, which is the most common kind found in a grocery store. I’ve made this recipe with honey instead of molasses and have had good results, but the flavor will be a bit different and not as holiday spiced. If you end up buying a new bottle of molasses for this recipe, use the extra to make my favorite molasses cookies.
- I like to top these ginger bars with a simple glaze, but you can top them with my favorite cream cheese frosting or keep them plain to let the ginger shine on its own.
- Add white or dark chocolate chips to take them up a notch. Ginger pairs perfectly with chocolate! If you love this flavor combo as much as I do, be sure to check out my chocolate ginger cookies and spice brownies.
- Don’t overbake these bars. The gingerbread bars may seem slightly underdone, but they firm up as they cool. It’s important not to overbake them so they don’t become dry.
These gingerbread bars are the perfect way to warm up your home and your spirits during cold winter months!
More ginger spiced recipes
- Chocolate Ginger Cookies: These chewy and ultra chocolatey cookies have a touch of ginger for the perfect kick.
- Gingerbread Cake: Moist and tender gingerbread cake topped with velvety-smooth cream cheese frosting.
- Plum Ginger Coffee Cake: Unlike anything you’ve tried before, this tasty cake is topped with crunchy streusel made with fresh plums, almond slivers, and ground ginger.
- Soft and Chewy Molasses Cookies: A perfect holiday treat! Chewy, rich, and perfectly moist cookies.
- Lemon Ginger Pound Cake: Moist lemon pound cake with the fresh aroma of ginger.
These wonderfully-spiced gingerbread cookie bars topped with simple glaze are the perfect holiday treat. They're easy to make and have a perfectly moist, fudgy texture that makes them absolutely irresistible.
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1-2 tablespoons milk , or more as needed
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on the sides for lifting the bars out of the pan after baking.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until fluffy. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.
Spread dough evenly into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the top is slightly firm to touch, and a toothpick inserted into centre comes out with a few moist crumbs, not clean. Overbaking will make the bars dry. Allow to cool completely in pan.
To make the glaze: In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and vanilla extract, and whisk until smooth. Add more milk as necessary until you get a thick yet pourable consistency. Drizzle over the bars using a spoon or a piping bag. Allow glaze to set, 15-30 minutes. For easy cutting, you can place it in the fridge for 2 hours until firm. Lift out of the pan and cut into squares. Serve at room temperature.
Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.