All of the Gingerbread cookie flavor with none of the difficult decorating! Gingerbread Bars have the sweet, spicy flavor of gingerbread cookies in a soft yet sturdy bar form which makes them easy to make, take, and eat.
Gingerbread is a traditional Christmas flavor that I adore. I love seeing decorated gingerbread cookies, but I rarely have the time to actually make and properly decorate them. This recipe for gingerbread cookie bars gives me all the gingerbread flavor and none of the stress.
Gingerbread bars are soft and chewy, a mix between a blondie and a cookie bar. Topped with a sweet cream cheese frosting, they are irresistible!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Fast and Easy: Bar cookies are so much easier to make than traditional cookies. They are also ready to each much sooner.
- Simple to Decorate: Just some sprinkles are needed to make these cookie bars fun and festive. Do you have some buttercream skills? Feel free to add extra decorations if you like!
- Soft and Chewy Bars: These cookie bars are like your favorite gingerbread cookie but in bar form. The texture is just perfect.
Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt: These dry ingredients are the building blocks for most cookie recipes.
Ground Ginger and Ground Cinnamon: These are two two spices that give gingerbread the warmth that you’ll remember.
Molasses: Molasses is the thick, dark, super flavorful syrup made during sugar refining. It’s the other half of the perfect gingerbread flavor.
Eggs and Granulated Sugar: Two more classic cookie recipe ingredients. Let your eggs come to room temperature before starting.
Shortening: Instead of butter, this recipe uses vegetable shortening. Crisco is more of an old-fashioned baking ingredient, and it gives these cookie bars their soft texture.
Frosting: Butter and cream cheese mixed with vanilla extract and powdered sugar create a simple and sweet cream cheese icing for gingerbread bars. Allow the butter and cream cheese to soften before mixing.
Sprinkles: Not totally necessary, but festive holiday sprinkles make these bars super fun.
Complete list of ingredients with quantities and instructions is located in the recipe card below
How to Make Gingerbread Bars
- Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. Line a 9×15-inch or 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- Cream: In a separate bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the shortening at low speed and slowly add the granulated sugar, mixing until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add Eggs and Molasses: Beat the eggs in one at a time, mixing well between each. Then mix in the molasses until incorporated.
- Add Dry Ingredients: Mix in the flour a little at a time until fully incorporated.
- Bake: Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, and gently press it evenly into the pan. Bake for 8 to 24 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool: Remove the gingerbread bars from the oven, and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack while you make the frosting.
- Make Frosting: Beat together softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth. Then add the powdered sugar a little at a time, mixing until completely smooth.
- Frost: Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled bars and top with sprinkles. Slice into squares to serve.
Use Extra Parchment: allowing the parchment paper to overflow the edges of the pan will create handles, making it super simple to remove your cooled bars from the pan.
Allow to Cool Before Frosting: If you try to frost warm cookie bars, the frosting will melt! Be patient.
Cut off the edges: for a really beautiful presentation, cut the edges off of the gingerbread bars before decorating. Save the scraps for snacking later!
Choose your pan: I designed this recipe to be baked in a 9 x 15-inch pan, but it will work just fine in a 9 x13 inch pan, your pieces might just be a bit smaller.
Make smaller bars: For bite sized treats, slice into smaller squares, or cut each large square in half to make triangles.
Add Flavor: For a deeper gingerbread flavor with more molasses notes, substitute 1 cup of light brown sugar for one cup of granulated sugar.
Don’t wait to add the Sprinkles: Sprinkle the cookie bars right after you frost them so that the sprinkles will stick. If you wait, the frosting will start to harden.
How to Store Gingerbread Cookie Bars
Store these bars in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
More Holiday Desserts to Make
- If you like easy gingerbread treats, you will really love this recipe for Gingerbread Edible Cookie Dough. No baking needed!
- Christmas Meringue Pops are fun and festive, and easier to make than they look.
- Classic Ricotta Cookies and Italian Pizzelle are a must on my cookie trays this year.
- Want an after-dinner dessert that will wow everyone? Make Chocolate Lasagna.
Molasses comes in different types, including different concentrations. You may see light, medium, and dark molasses. You’ll also see Blackstrap molasses, which is the darkest and most thick style. For baking, and this recipe, in particular, choose a medium to dark molasses. Blackstrap will be too bitter for this sweet recipe.
You may have trouble finding molasses for gingerbread bars, especially if you’re reading this from outside of the U.S. No worries though! Substitute an equal amount of black treacle (in the UK), dark corn syrup, or honey. If using honey or dark syrup, replace the granulated sugar in the recipe with dark brown sugar for flavor.
The sweet and creamy frosting helps to balance the slightly bitter and spicy flavor of the gingerbread, however these are pretty amazing even without frosting. Skip it if you like!
Yes, butter can be used in place of shortening in most baking recipes as a 1-to-1 swap. The texture will be slightly different, as butter contains about 20% water, where shortening does not.
These gingerbread bars are going to be a huge hit for the holidays this year! Make sure to Pin this recipe so you can make it again.