Gingerbread Cookie Bars Recipe

The holiday season is the perfect time for gingerbread treats, and thankfully, they don't all involve rolling dough and cutting it into shapes. As cute as it is to create a gingerbread house from scratch, the whole process is pretty involved. Thankfully, Tasting Table recipe developer Jessica Morone brings us these delicious gingerbread cookie bars that are brimming with warm holiday flavors and ready in just over half an hour. Morone calls this, "one of my favorite holiday recipes to make," and adds, "These are easy to make, perfect for the holidays, and just delicious."

The quick and simple process doesn't detract from the taste, and these bars are perfectly spiced and topped with a sweet frosting that makes them all the more decadent. "The gingerbread cookie base just goes so well with the caramel cream cheese frosting," Morone raves, describing the texture of the bars as "thicker and fluffier than a usual cookie." As a bonus, you can decorate them with your favorite sprinkles for a festive twist.

Gather the ingredients for these gingerbread cookie bars

For these gingerbread bars, you'll need all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, black pepper, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, molasses, and a large egg. For the frosting, soften some butter and cream cheese, then get caramel sauce, vanilla extract, salt, and powdered sugar. If desired, garnish the top of the bars with sprinkles.

Step 1: Preheat

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Step 2: Line pan

Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving edges of the parchment paper hanging over the edges of the pan so you can pull it out after baking. Set aside.

Step 3: Mix dry ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper until combined. Set aside.

Step 4: Combine sugars and wet ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, molasses, and egg until well combined.

Step 5: Combine batter ingredients

Add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. The batter will be very thick.

Step 6: Transfer batter

Press the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Step 7: Bake and cool

Bake in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool completely.

Step 8: Combine frosting ingredients

Add the butter, cream cheese, caramel sauce, vanilla extract, and salt to a large bowl and use an electric mixer or stand mixer to beat together until creamy and well combined.

Step 9: Add powdered sugar

Mix in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Step 10: Add frosting

Spread the frosting evenly over the bars.

Step 11: Garnish

Top with sprinkles, if desired.

Step 12: Cut and serve

Cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.

What are fun ideas for serving gingerbread cookie bars?

It's not hard to find people eager to devour a plate of baked goods, and that's all the more true with this delicious gingerbread cookie recipe. Nevertheless, Morone has a few ideas for being extra intentional when serving them. "These are great for any occasion," she highlights, though gingerbread flavors work especially well for the winter holidays. 

"I bake up several of these every holiday season and cut them up and give them out to friends and family as part of my annual cookie box," Morone describes. Chances are, pretty much everyone on your gifting list will be on board with a cookie box, and the best part is you can personalize the contents for your loved ones ... though gingerbread cookie bars are irreplaceable! 

Aside from adding these to a gift box, Morone notes, "They would also be great to take to a holiday party, for a cookie swap, or, honestly, you can just bake them and eat the whole pan yourself." Count us in — especially for the last option!

How should you store these bars?

You'll want to properly store leftovers to ensure they retain their freshness as you finish up the batch. Also, if you're planning to gift these in a cookie box then it's important to know how long they keep. Morone recommends, "Keep leftover bars in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days or you can freeze leftover bars in the freezer for 1-2 months." 

This latter option is particularly useful if you want to get an early start before the chaos of the holiday season. However, she adds, "I don't recommend freezing them if they have sprinkles on top because the colors can 'bleed' into the frosting." Just make sure to add the final touch before serving. Morone offers another option that's helpful if you want to prepare these bars for a party or potluck. "You can make the frosting ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days before using it to frost the bars," she instructs.

Gingerbread Cookie Bars Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
These delicious, frosted gingerbread cookie bars are brimming with warm holiday flavors and are ready in just over half an hour.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
18
minutes
Servings
12
Bars
closeup gingerbread cookie bars
Total time: 33 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the bars
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • For the frosting
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • ½ cup cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup caramel sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Optional Ingredients
  • sprinkles
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving edges of the parchment paper hanging over the edges of the pan so you can pull it out after baking. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper until combined. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, molasses, and egg until well combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. The batter will be very thick.
  6. Press the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool completely.
  8. Add the butter, cream cheese, caramel sauce, vanilla extract, and salt to a large bowl and use an electric mixer or stand mixer to beat together until creamy and well combined.
  9. Mix in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  10. Spread the frosting evenly over the bars.
  11. Top with sprinkles, if desired.
  12. Cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 430
Total Fat 19.3 g
Saturated Fat 11.7 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 65.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 62.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
Total Sugars 45.2 g
Sodium 278.0 mg
Protein 3.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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