Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars

Goodbye pumpkin, hello gingerbread and molasses.

I love these flavors so much and am so excited to be baking with them. Actually, I bake with them all year, but it’s safe to blog about them now.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Last week I started a Gingerbread & Molasses pinterest board in preparation for all the ginger and molasses recipes I know I’ll see online and want to remember. Food blogs are so predictable this time of year. First pumpkin, then ginger and molasses, then mint. I hope we linger in this phase for awhile.

My new board inspired me make something to kick off ginger and molasses season.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

These bars are my heaven. They’re dense to the point of being almost like molasses fudge, with an abundance of chocolate chips that melt, making them even closer to fudge. Like a fudgy gingerbread brownie of sorts.

If you’re looking for a traditional, soft and fluffy ginger or molasses cake, or traditional cakey gingerbread cookies that you’d decorate, these bars are not that. There’s no chemical leaveners in them because I wanted them to stay flat and dense. Back to that fudge factor.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

They follow the pattern of my trusty blondies recipesand are made in one-bowlno mixer required, and the batter is whisked together in minutes before being turned out into a pan and baked.

Simple melt one stick of butter in a bowl in the micro, stir in an egg, brown sugar, molasses, 3 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon each of cloves and nutmeg.

That’s 7 teaspoons of spices for a small pan of bars, and the bars definitely have a zippy kick. Not overwhelming for me personally, but they’re bold. There’s nothing more disappointing than lackluster-spiced pumpkin, ginger, or molasses-based recipes so I use a heavy hand. If you don’t like bold flavors, dial the spices back, possibly even halving them.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

I recommend using a light to medium molasses so the bars don’t taste bitter or too pungent, a likely result if you use blackstrap molasses.

After stirring in the flour, add 1/1 4 cups chocolate chips, turn batter out into the pan, and top with 1/4 cup additional. I always place a few chocolate chipswhite chocolate chips or candy pieces on top of my cookies and bars. It adds a visual pop to your treats so they really glisten and shine.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Bake the bars until they’re done. For me, that was 32 minutes. Because ingredients, climates, and taste preferences vary, always bake things until they’re done in your oven and to your taste. It’ll be a little tricky testing with a toothpick because you’ll keep hitting melted chocolate patches. There are worse things.

If you prefer more well-done, drier, bars, bake longer. Easy enough, but I can’t tell you how many people write to me, ‘But I baked it for exactly as long as you said and it wasn’t done’. Okay, then bake a little longer. Maybe you live in a humid climate or your oven runs 25 degrees cooler or you like drier food than I do. I’m an admitted under-baking queen.

I let the bars cool overnight. It makes cutting them much easier because the chocolate fully sets, they’re not as gooey, and they have a chance to rest, and for the flavors to marry. Ginger and molasses treats really do taste better in the few days after baking them.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

The thick molasses, the softening and tenderizing effects of the brown sugar, coupled with the chocolate that melts and then sets up, they’re like eating a piece of dense, rich, molasses fudge with bold spices. The chocolate stands up beautifully to the boldness of the molasses and spices and is a wonderful pairing.

If you’re the type of person who frequently utters statements like, ‘Oh that’s too strong’, or ‘That’s so spicy’ or ‘Wow, that’s too rich’, don’t make these. They’re not going to be your thing.

However, if you’re a person who has to at least double the cinnamon in most recipes and you’re a real fan of molasses, coupled with a love of chocolate and fudgy things, they’ll be your thing. They’re definitely mine.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Rich, chocolaty & like eating a piece of molasses fudge!

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Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars

These bars aren't at all like traditional, soft and fluffy ginger or molasses cake, or gingerbread decorating cookies. They're extremely dense, rich, moist, and fudge-like. Molasses fudge meets gingerbread brownie. They're made in own bowl, without needing a mixer, and the batter is whisked together in minutes. The thick molasses, the softening and tenderizing effects of the brown sugar, coupled with chocolate, and they're like eating a piece of molasses fudge with bold spices. I used 7 teaspoons of spices and they're very boldly spiced. If you're more sensitive to spices, you may wish to dial them back, possibly even halving them. The semi-sweet chocolate stands up beautifully to the boldness of the molasses and spices and is a wonderful pairing. I recommend allowing these bars to cool overnight, allowing the chocolate to really set and for the flavors to marry. They taste better in the few days after baking them.

Yield: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 generous squares

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: about 32 to 34 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour+, to allow for cooling

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulphered light or medium molasses  (not blackstrap, it's too pungent)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch salt, optional to taste
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don't scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, optional salt, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the flour and stir until just combined, don't overmix.
  5. Stir in 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  7. Evenly sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the top, pressing them down very lightly with a spatula.
  8. Bake for about 32 to 34 minutes, or until done. I prefer them very moist, soft, and fudge-like, and baked for 32 minutes (shown in photos). If you prefer more well-done, dryer bars, bake for a few minutes longer; noting baking times may vary widely with this recipe based on personal preferences. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter; however, it will be hard to find a clean patch to test because you'll likely hit chocolate. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 to 60 minutes before slicing and serving; I prefer to let these bars rest overnight so the flavors marry and the chocolate fully sets, at which point they're fudge-like. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Related Recipes

Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies – Soft & chewy molasses cookies with chocolate 3 ways – chocolate chips, chocolate chunks & cocoa in the dough – for a chocolaty twist on the traditional. Well-spiced with cinnamon, ginger, & cloves

Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Molasses Chocolate Chip Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Glaze – Part chocolate cake, part molasses cake, with chunks of chocolate chips & a smooth Baileys glaze

Chocolate Molasses Chocolate Chip Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Glaze

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – This bread is a mixture of both pumpkin and banana flavors, and also incorporates molasses

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Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies - No butter, no white sugar, full of rich flavor from dark brown sugar, molasses, and coconut oil

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies averiecooks.com

White Chocolate-Topped Cinnamon Chip Cinnamon Bars

White Chocolate-Topped Cinnamon Chip Cinnamon Bars - Bursting With Big Cinnamon Flavor - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies - Molasses in the batter gives them great flavor

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Nutella-Swirled Peanut Butter Chip Blondies - Dense, rich, and fudge-like

Nutella-Swirled Peanut Butter Chip Blondies - Easy One-Bowl No-Mixer Recipe at averiecooks.com

Cookie Butter Spread Ginger Molasses Cookies (no-bake, vegan, with GF option) – Easy, no-bake little cookie dough bites made using Cookie Butter or Biscoff

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars – Dense, soft, chewy, and loaded with chocolate chunks

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What’s your favorite gingerbread or molasses recipe?

   

108 Responses to “Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars”

  1. #
    51
    Laura — November 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    These bars caused a bit of a sensation where I work. Everyone went crazy for them, even the people who usually avoid sweets. One coworker took me aside to ask if they had rum in them, and didn’t seem to believe me when I said no! I’m about to make a second (double this time) batch so that those who missed out can try one. I’m completely addicted to them myself, too, even though at first the spices (especially the cloves) seemed too much for me. The more I eat them, the more I crave them! Seriously, I’m not a snacker, but I find myself taking little bites every time I’m in the kitchen, or at least I did for the 2 days they lasted. Everyone should make these, and do NOT halve the spices; they are perfect as is.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 13th, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      I am so glad you love them and that you kept the spices as is. “The more I eat them, the more I crave them!” That’s how I feel about them – that the first bite or two can be a little jarring but then, you get used to it and anything else seems boring. Same with spicy ethnic food. Once you work up to the hotter stuff, anything else is boring to me! And the rum – you know, I can see that. I think it’s a combo of the dark molasses and dark brown sugar and the ample amt of vanilla. But now I kinda want to add rum to them – ha! Thanks for trying them and sharing them with your office!

      Reply

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    Nutmeg Nanny — November 15, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I love adding molasses into my baking :) these bars look downright delicious!!

    Reply

  3. #
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    Diane — November 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Made these today. So good! My family really loved them too! This recipe is a keeper!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 17th, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks for trying them, Diane, and glad your family loved them, too! Wonderful to hear!

      Reply

  4. #
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    Natalie — November 23, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Starting my Thanksgiving baking today with these bars. They are baking in the oven as I write this. I can already tell by the batter that they are going to be amazing! They are super easy to make too. Thanks for another great recipe, Averie!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 23rd, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Glad you gave them a try and hope that you love them! Try to wait as long as you can so they cool and the flavors marry before you slice them – I know it’s hard :)

      Reply

  5. #
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    Farah @everylittlecrumb — November 26, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I am literally salivating just thinking about these. They were so good! The spicyness offset by the creamy melted chocolate..most comforting thing I’ve made all season. Definite keeper! If I didn’t have so many other recipes saved (many of them yours) I’d just have to keep making these over and over again. Thanks for the recipe :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 26th, 2013 at 2:59 am

      Thanks for the glowing report! I truly loved these bars and if I didn’t have to write a food blog with ummm NEW content, I too would happily just make and have these. So good, would never get sick of them, spicy, chocolaty, and comforting – everything you said. If you try any other of my recipes, LMK :)

      Reply

  6. #
    56
    Carla — November 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Totally guilty about the blog cycle with pumpkin then gingerbread. Now that December is almost here (!), I’m in full gingerbread mode. Bring on these bars :D

    Reply

  7. #
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    Anya James — December 3, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Hi!!! I am in weight weight ers and reduced your gingerbread molasses chocolate chip bars down to make them more proper for me to eat!! I did not change the ingredients but I did change the number of servings. Do you think this can be baked in a 13×9 pan instead of 8×8? What would be the temperature or time for baking changes you would suggest? Thanks!!! They look so good but I don’t want to burn them or leave them undercooked!!!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 3rd, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      You could double all ingredients and bake in a 9×13 pan, making a double batch. But no, you cannot take the recipe as written and bake in a 9×13 pan. The bars will be paper thin and the texture, consistency, etc will not be right. Either make it as written and cut the pieces into smaller pieces OR double the recipe and bake in a 9×13.

      Reply

  8. #
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    Roxanne — December 22, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I’m wondering if you can use sorghum molasses in this recipe. It looks divine. I have both, but I just recently bought some sorghum molasses from and Amish store and looking for a good recipe to use it in!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 22nd, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      I really am not familiar with sorghum molasses. I’ve only ever had light, med, dark, robust, blackstrap, but not sorghum, so I dont know but you have nothing to lose – try it! LMK what happens!

      Reply

  9. #
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    Kris — January 22, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Finally tried these today–yet another hit. :) Just different enough to be fun without being wayyyy out there, if ya know what I mean. They were gobbled down by my family.

    I noticed the above comment about sorghum–I became familiar with it after I got married. It is very similar to light/medium molasses in viscosity and also has a similar but somewhat sweeter taste. I think it would work well in this recipe and you could use the same spices.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 22nd, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      So glad that you tried these! They’re one of my fave bars of 2013. I really loved them and as you said diff enough, but not out there. I agree :)

      Now that you write what you did about sorghum, I need to try it, specifically. Sounds like it could be useful in baking as an alternative to molasses if you don’t want something to be quite as bold-with-molasses flavor, but still want the viscosity and a similar taste profile, just a smidge sweeter. Thanks!

      Reply

      • Kris replied: — January 23rd, 2014 at 9:42 am

        You’re welcome! It seems to be available only in certain regions–my in-laws (who live in Illinois) get it from THEIR relatives in Iowa. I have found blends which include sorghum here in Michigan but haven’t located pure sorghum (I haven’t tried health food stores). Personally, I prefer molasses (I love it when I’m at the end of a jar and can eat the scrapings!) but to each their own.

  10. #
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    TH — April 16, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    I really heart this site, I rarely (as in once a year maybe) purchase organic butter, I substitute organic coconut oil when recipes calls for butter (even when it says do not substitute) in cookies, pie crust, cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls. Additionally I substitute almond milk and apple cider vinegar when a recipe calls for buttermilk. The recipes from your site work very well for our vegetarian lifestyle, sure one can veganize anything but baking is chemistry and you have it down, simple, pure ingredients coupled with the correct measurements. I never feel like something is missing. I’ve had my eye on these awesome bars, they are cooling as I type. I have no doubt they will be as delicious as the soft molasses crinkles. I did use Sorghum on both recipes and they both turned out yum to me and my family

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — April 17th, 2014 at 12:53 am

      sure one can veganize anything but baking is chemistry and you have it down, simple, pure ingredients coupled with the correct measurements = THANK YOU for saying that!! :)

      And I am so happy you love the molasses crinkles (love coc oil in that recipe too!) and with these, one of my fave bars of all time. And I love that you’re baking with molasses in a non-winter holiday time. It seems very few people do and I love molasses so much! I hope you enjoy these & keep me posted what other recipes you try!

      Reply

  11. #
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    Angie — June 20, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Ohhh maaan, these were RIDICULOUSLY good!! I saw this recipe yesterday and was like, I HAVE TO MAKE THESE TODAY! I read how you said the flavors get better overnight, but I wanted them THAT DAY, so I made them in the morning and let them sit in the fridge for 8 hours, and by that time it was dinner! However, I did leave one piece still in the fridge for the next day to see how it would taste and you were sooo right! The spices were more evident and just…wow. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — June 21st, 2014 at 12:27 am

      Thanks for trying these, Angie, in the middle of summer no less. You’re a true molasses fan like me, I can tell just by the fact you made these in June. I’m so happy you’re thrilled with them and yes, they do get better with time! Thanks for the awesome comment and for making these!

      Reply

      • Angie replied: — June 21st, 2014 at 10:59 am

        I actually forgot to mention that the next day, the bars had a very pleasant and subtle rum taste…not sure how that happened(must have been the molasses overnight) but was overjoyed(I love rum flavor in most baked goods). And now, I’m craving some more!

        • Averie Sunshine replied: — June 21st, 2014 at 3:52 pm

          I think it’s something to do with the vanilla extract, the caramelization of the brown sugar and how it interplays with the molasses, and maybe the chocolate notes – yes, I know what you mean! Glad you’re loving them!

  12. #
    62
    Angie — June 22, 2014 at 1:04 am

    I was also wondering how you get the tops of your bars so smooth- mine usually have cracks at the top.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — June 22nd, 2014 at 1:53 am

      No big secrets other than taking my time, being super neat, and just practice I guess? Ha! :)

      Reply

  13. #
    63
    Jen — July 6, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    These sound so good! Was wondering if you have thought about making them with the butterscotch chips, and how you would think they would turn out? Thanks for the great recipe :)

    Reply

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