Iced Gingerbread Bars

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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!!

two gingerbread bars stacked on each other

Easy Gingerbread Dessert Recipe

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. Plus, a rolling pin is usually involved with those so definitely not my thing.

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.

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 these gingerbread 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 complements the warming spices beautifully. Icing always catches my eye.

two gingerbread bars stacked on top of each other. Top bar has a bite missing.

What’s in Gingerbread Bars? 

To make these gingerbread cookie bars, you’ll need: 

  • Light brown sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Spices (ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger)
  • Salt 
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Molasses
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Milk

How to Make Gingerbread Bars

Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the dry ingredients. Stir the molasses in last. 

Turn the mixture into a greased 8×8-inch pan. Bake until the center is set, then let cool completely before icing. 

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!!

Can I Double This Recipe? 

Yes! Simply double the ingredients and bake in a 9×13-inch pan. 

What Type of Molasses Should I Use? 

Use a mild or medium molasses. Do NOT use blackstrap molasses, it’s way too bitter. 

Tips for Making Gingerbread Cookie Bars

When measuring the flour, be careful not to over-measure or hard-pack it. If you add too much flour, the bars will turn out dry and crumbly. 

You’ll know the bars are ready to be pulled from the oven when the center is set and the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan. 

The icing takes about 15 minutes to fully set. I recommend waiting until it’s set before slicing the bars, otherwise you’ll have a big mess on your hands. 

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!!

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Yield: 9

Iced Gingerbread Bars

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!!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

Bars

  • 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

Icing

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • about 2 teaspoons water, cream, or milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-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.
  8. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for about 45 minutes before adding the icing.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Notes

Storage: Bars will keep airtight at room temp for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 149mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 1gSugar: 22gProtein: 3g

More Molasses Desserts:

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

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 Molasses Gingerdoodles — 3 favorites combined! Soft molasses cookies, chewy gingerbread and crinkly snickerdoodles! So good!!

Soft and Chewy Molasses Gingerdoodles - 3 favorites combined! Soft molasses cookies, chewy gingerbread and crinkly snickerdoodles! So good!!

Soft Molasses Coconut Oil Crinkle Cookies – No butter, no problem. One of my favorite molasses cookie recipes!

Soft Molasses Coconut Oil Crinkle Cookies - No butter, no problem. My favorite molasses cookies ever. Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake — An EASY, no mixer cake that’s perfect for the holidays!! Chocolate and ginger are amazing together! The GINGER spiced whipped cream is the literal icing on this cake!!

Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies – Chocolate is used three times for a fun twist on the traditional. No mixer required!

Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies on a blue surface

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies— Between the molasses, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin pie spice extract that I used, these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies beautifully showcase the flavors of fall! 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread— This pumpkin chocolate chip bread is truly the best homemade pumpkin bread you’ll ever make. It’s moist, packed with chocolate chips, and tastes like fall!

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Comments

  1. 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!!

  2. 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!

    1. You can always add vanilla but with so many other spices, it almost gets lost to me at least. Glad you loved the graham cracker toffee!

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

  4. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. 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!

  5. 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!

    1. 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!

  6. 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!

    1. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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……

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!!

  13. 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

    1. And I confess…I made these in like Aug or Sept and they were gone in an instant! Gingerbread knows no seasons for me!

  14. 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!!!

    1. 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!

  15. 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.

    1. The hard ones should all be pulverized into crust in my opinion…lol! Soft, dense, and convenient bar form is more like my language!

  16. 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!