These gingerbread cookie bars are deliciously chewy and spicy with just the right amount of crispness on the edges. These bars pack all the warm and cozy flavor of classic gingerbread cookies - but ready in less than half the time and much easier to make!
what makes these so good?
The Christmas season is in FULL swing in my world!! And I could NEVER let it pass by without a whole lot of gingerbread making. For my fellow lazy / impatient friends, gingerbread cookie bars are the best thing to make when you want some warm and toasty deliciousness right away!
These bars completely cut out the chill time (which is by far the only negative thing about making gingerbread cookies if you ask me). They're much more fail-proof because you don't have to worry about overspreading. AND they have all the same delicious warm and toasty flavor.
how to make gingerbread cookie bars
1. Cream together butter and sugars.
2. Whisk in the egg followed by your molasses and vanilla.
3. Fold in dry ingredients. You can tell this recipe is easy because I whipped it up by hand in a loaf pan (all the bowls were in the dishwasher, ok?) This cookie dough will be slightly softer than any traditional cookie dough - almost like a hybrid between cake batter and cookie dough!
4. Spread the cookie dough into your loaf pan.
5. Bake and cool! It's important to let the cookie cool completely in the pan before taking it out and frosting. It can be very difficult to transfer when it's warm and the icing will melt all over the place!
6. Whisk together icing ingredients until smooth.
7. Pour icing over the cooled cookie.
how to decorate gingerbread cookie bars
Since gingerbread cookies are most traditionally paired with an icing, a simple powdered sugar icing was the obvious choice for topping these cookie bars! I also had some mini gingerbread men left over from another recipe I was working on, so I plopped them on top.
You can make your own homemade gingerbread cookies to decorate your bars if you're up for some added work, or simply top with some festive sprinkles!
If you do want to decorate the cookie with anything on top, let the icing sit for about 5 to 10 minutes (just to form a very light crust on the surface) before placing any gingerbread cutouts or sprinkles on top. If you try to decorate the cookies while the icing is still fresh, most of the toppings will just sink to the bottom or slide right off! If you wait too long, then the icing will fully set and the toppings won't stick.
After decorating to your liking, set aside to allow the icing to fully dry and set before slicing. You could serve it right away, but it'll get kind of messy if the icing is still fresh!
- measuring flour: always always alwaaaays measure flour by weight or (if using cups) by spoon and leveling the flour. Scooping your measuring cup straight into the bag of flour can pack in extra weight and lead to dry cookies!
- room temperature: A lot of us are probably going to be baking these cookies bars up during cooler months, so ingredients will take slightly longer to come up to room temperature. Everything whips up much better when they're at room temperature!
- mixing: This cookie dough doesn't need a whole lot of whipping or mixing. In fact, overmixing the dough after the flour is added can cause the cookies to end up dense. So do the bare minimum in terms of effort!
- baking: Take care not to overbake the bars or they'll end up dry!
- cooling: Cool the cookie completely before icing to prevent a runny, sticky mess!
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Gingerbread Cookie Bars Recipe
for the gingerbread cookie bars:
- 1 & ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup (50g) packed brown sugar, light or dark
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (60mL) unsulphered molasses
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for the icing:
- ¾ cup (95g) powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- festive sprinkles and gingerbread men (optional - for decorating)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8 inch pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. To make it easier to lift the cookie out of the pan, leave a bit of parchment paper hanging up and over the sides of the pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, baking soda, and salt to combine. Set aside.1 & ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour,, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground allspice, ½ teaspoon ground cloves, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until you no longer see any dry sugar crystals.½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter,, ¼ cup (50g) packed brown sugar,, ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- Whisk the egg into your butter/sugar mixture until combined. Whisk in molasses and vanilla to combine.1 large egg,, ¼ cup (60mL) unsulphered molasses, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined. Take care not to over mix or the cookies will end up hard.
- Spread the cookie dough into your prepared baking pan. Bake the cookie in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until no longer shiny on top and the edges are slightly browned. Take the baked cookie out of the oven and set aside to cool completely in the pan.
- Make the icing: In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. If needed, gradually whisk in more milk until you reach your desired icing consistency.¾ cup (95g) powdered sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- Pull the cooled cookie out of the pan using the parchment overhang and place on your serving platter. Pour the icing overtop. Spread icing evenly to cover the top of the cookie.
- Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until a light crust forms on the surface of the icing before decorating with sprinkles and/or gingerbread cutout cookies! Decorating the cookies before the icing has a chance to set slightly will cause the toppings to slip, slide and sink! But be careful not to wait too, too long or the icing will set and your decorations won't stick.
- After decorating, let the cookie sit until the icing is fully set for cleaner slices. You could slice it right away, but it'll get messy!