baking · bread · holiday

Frosted Gingerbread Bars

I just had a bit of unintentional stress this morning.

My parents are coming down here for Christmas this year, and my mom and I are going to make a full turkey Christmas dinner. Since my apartment’s kitchen isn’t the hugest, we decided to order pies from our favorite pie place (Pie Junkie) that way we wouldn’t have to take up the oven. I didn’t realize they opened Christmas orders yesterday, and my ideal pickup day was already booked up!

So, I changed which pies will be having (no coconut cream) and will pick them up the Sunday before Christmas and freeze them. I’m okay with that, but it was a highly stressful 10 minutes on the phone with the Pie Junkie people….

Since I’m not baking on actual Christmas, I’m baking on all the weekends leading up to it. This recipe was my first foray into gingerbread; it’s never been a traditional holiday dessert in my household.

If I was partaking in my work’s holiday bake-off, this would be the recipe I would bring. I didn’t realize how easy traditional gingerbread was to make. On top of that, adding a sweet-and-tangy pat of cream cheese frosting really sets this gingerbread over the finish line.

Here’s a tip for you, though, if you’re making gingerbread for the first time: don’t overcook it.

Sounds easier said than done, right?

I thought about leaving my gingerbread in the oven for an extra five minutes, and I’m glad I didn’t. It hardens up more when it cools, so even if you take it out of the oven and think to yourself, “this can’t be right”, it is right. It’ll end up being chewy just like a good gingerbread.

These little bars (or big, wide bars in my case since I’m such a trash cutter) are the perfect bites of Christmas. They were gobbled up in no time when I brought them with me to work.

Enjoy!

Frosted Gingerbread Bars

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Soft & chewy gingerbread bars with a sweet cream cheese frosting, perfect for a Christmas snack.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 TBS. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Christmas sprinkles, for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large 13×9″ baking dish with cooking spray (or line with parchment paper).
  2. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar with melted butter. Add vanilla and molasses and continue mixing until well combined.
  3. Add in the egg and stir.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the baking soda, flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add flour mixture to molasses mixture in 2-3 batches, running the mixer at low speed. Continue to mix until well incorporated.
  5. Spread dough evenly in prepared dish and bake for 15-20 minutes. Do not overbake. Remove and let cool fully before frosting and cutting.
  6. Make the frosting: mix butter and cream cheese in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add in powdered sugar in batches and mix until creamy.
  7. Spread frosting over cooled gingerbread and top with Christmas sprinkles.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large 13×9″ baking dish with cooking spray (or line with parchment paper). In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar with melted butter. Add vanilla and molasses and continue mixing until well combined. Add in the egg and stir.

In a large bowl, sift together the baking soda, flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add flour mixture to molasses mixture in 2-3 batches, running the mixer at low speed. Continue to mix until well incorporated.

Spread dough evenly in prepared dish and bake for 15-20 minutes. Do not overbake.

Remove and let cool fully before frosting and cutting.

Make the frosting: mix butter and cream cheese in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add in powdered sugar in batches and mix until creamy. Spread frosting over cooled gingerbread and top with Christmas sprinkles.

3 thoughts on “Frosted Gingerbread Bars

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