Iced Gingerbread Bars

I love all things molasses and ginger, but only when soft and chewy.

Traditional rock hard, crack-a-tooth gingerbread cookies aren’t my thing.

Iced Gingerbread Bars - Soft, chewy bars that are full of rich gingery molasses flavor!! Wayyyy faster and easier than rolling out gingerbread cookies! No mixer, no fuss, and the sweet icing seals the deal!!

Plus a rolling pin is usually involved with those so definitely not my thing. However I do have a few no-roll awesome cookie recipes but I digress.

Enter these bars. Soft, chewy, no rolling involved, and loaded with rich molasses and ginger flavor. There are also no eggs which could be helpful if you need an egg-free holiday dessert.

Iced Gingerbread Bars - Soft, chewy bars that are full of rich gingery molasses flavor!! Wayyyy faster and easier than rolling out gingerbread cookies! No mixer, no fuss, and the sweet icing seals the deal!!

If you’ve ever made any of my gingerbread or molasses treats, you’ll know I’m not shy with the spices. There’s nothing worse than bland and the bars are robustly flavored without being overpowering. However, if you’re very sensitive to spices you may want to dial things back a bit.

I adapted the bars from an old-fashioned recipe for hermits. I figured the name hermits wasn’t going to catch anyone’s eye but maybe gingerbread will. Plus there’s sweet icing that compliments the warming spices beautifully. Icing always catches my eye.

Iced Gingerbread Bars - Soft, chewy bars that are full of rich gingery molasses flavor!! Wayyyy faster and easier than rolling out gingerbread cookies! No mixer, no fuss, and the sweet icing seals the deal!!

Print Recipe

Iced Gingerbread Bars

Soft, chewy, no rolling pin involved, and loaded with rich molasses and ginger flavor. There are also no eggs which could be helpful if you need an egg-free holiday dessert. I'm not shy with the spices because there's nothing worse than bland and the bars are robustly flavored without being overpowering. However, if you're very sensitive to spices dial things back a bit. Sweet icing compliments the warming spices beautifully.

Yield: one 8x8-inch pan

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: about 20 minutes

Total Time: about 1 hour, for cooling

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (don't overmeasure)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup medium or mild molasses (don't use blackstrap, too harsh)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • about 2 teaspoons water, cream, or milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8x8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and handheld electric mixer), add the brown sugar, butter, and beat until smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and beat to combine.
  4. Add the flour (don't overmeasure or hard-pack the flour or bars will be dry and crumbly), baking soda, and beat to combine. Mixture will be dry.
  5. Add the molasses and beat to combine.
  6. Turn mixture out into pan and hard-pack it with a spatula. It will be on the dry and crumbly side but bakes together fine.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until center is just set. Edges will be pulling away slightly from pan; don't over-bake because bars firm up as they cool. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for about 45 minutes before adding the icing.
  8. To a medium bowl, add the confectioners' sugar, liquid of your choice, and whisk until smooth and combined. Play with the liquid and sugar amounts as necessary to achieve desired consistency.
  9. Evenly drizzle icing over bars, noting you will likely have extra. Alternatively, pour icing over bars for complete coverage. Icing will set up in about 15 minutes. I recommend waiting until it sets up before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temp for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Adapted from Hermits

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37 comments

  1. I love the sound of these gingerbread bars! I’m the same, I don’t like rock hard gingerbread. I’ll definitely be making these this festive season!

  2. A soft version of a holiday classic in a convenient bar form. Love it! Crushed up hard ginger snaps might make a good crust for something, but I also prefer soft and dense when it comes to cookies.

  3. Your gingerbread molasses chocolate chip bars as well as your gingerbread pancakes make frequent appearances in my home–you know I’ll be all over these new bars! Love me some gingerbread.

    My mom’s cut-out gingerbread cookie recipe is the only one I have ever found that isn’t hard and bleah. It’s so hard to find good recipes with this flavor profile–keep them coming!!!

    • You are one of my biggest gingerbread (molasses) fans and I love that! Those gingerbread molasses chocolate chip bars are one of my personal faves as well!

      And yes, this flavor profile, without getting hard and crunchy is hard to find!

  4. These would be gone in an instant. I love them so hard!!!

  5. These look very tasty indeed, as well as pretty. I do like to bake and freeze my sweets and am wondering if these should be ice only after they come out of the freezer.
    Many thanks.

    Anne

  6. These bars look delicious! Love how soft and chewy they look 😋 And I love your blog Averie! It was the first blog I had EVER seen and you had me hooked! I just recently started my own blog and have you to thank for inspiring me!!
    Plus I have made a ton of your recipes and they are all amazing!!

  7. Could you use cutters on theses for shaped cookies?

  8. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    Over here in the Spanish mountains getting some ingredients can be difficult, for example molasses! I just have a small amount left in my last tin…… I didn’t know what to do with it, both because it is a relatively small amount and secondly I didn’t want to “waste” it.

    Looks like I have finally found a good home for it, these biscuits look perfect!

    Thanks again.

  9. Okay, totally loving these. I’ve never thought to do gingerbread bars over cookies, but love how soft and chewy these look! Perfect to add to the cookie repertoire!

  10. Perfect. I get annoyed by crispy gingerbread so this is ideal for me – the icing is key, too. Gingerbread loves to be iced!

  11. YUM!!! Great recipe–I think I could have eaten the entire pan by myself 😱. The spices were just right and the icing was a good addition. Chewy, spicy, molasses-y….now where did I hide those things? Maybe just one more……

  12. hey girl these look so good!

  13. I’m with you! What’s the point of putting in spices if you can’t really taste them? Love me some super spicy cookies and bars! Pinned!

  14. Any way you can share the recipe for Hermits?? Those are my father-in-law’s favorite cookie from childhood, but his grandmother’s recipe calls for “a pinch” of this and “a scoop” of that. He’s never found anyone who can recreate them!

    • These are pretty darn close to hermits, based on the research I did. The real deal has raisins and of course you can google away but if hermits are what your FIL remembers from childhood, then I’d make these. Lmk how it goes.

  15. I know you won’t be surprised to hear that I made these yesterday–of course they were delicious, and I think they taste better the day after baking!

    • Love that you baked these the day after I posted them and yes, I agree – anything with molasses and that array of spices intensifies and marries and they do taste better the next day!

  16. Hi Averie – love your blog and these bars look so delicious! Are these meant to be egg free? I’ve never made gingerbread anything without an egg, so just curious!

    • Whoops just re-read your recipe and answered my own question! Disregard! I’m trying this afternoon. 😁

    • I wanted to give an update. These were super easy to make and were a hit at a Christmas party last night! I ended up spreading the icing evenly, rather than drizzling and it worked out fine. The bars cut so cleanly, I was thinking next time I may double the recipe and bake in a large sheet pan and then cut with mini gingerbread cookie cutters for an extra touch. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Love the idea of baking in a 9×13 if you double the recipe or on a sheet pan and use cookie cutters!

  17. LOVE these Averie- I reckon gingerbread should be year round…well this recipe will be at least :D

  18. Averie, I just made these. I Put it in the oven and then I was worried suddenly why wasn’t there vanilla in the recipe. But when I tested it, I think the spices really were a bold flavor! I have made about 5 of your recent recipes. My hands down favorite is the Graham cracker toffee. Seriously it was to die for. You are just awesome!

  19. Averie, I’m so excited about making these today! Question: I only have blackstrap molasses in the pantry. Can I use that and perhaps cut it with honey or something else so it won’t be as strong? Or should I just run to the store and get a mild molasses? Can’t wait to taste them! All of your recipes look amazing!!

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