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!

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.

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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.
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What’s your favorite gingerbread or molasses recipe?

124 comments on “Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars”

  1. I am so so SO in love with these bars, Averie! I am a huge fan of ginger and molasses, so these are a must make.

  2. Chocolatey molasses fudge bars, sign me up!!

  3. This is my favorite time of year food wise, with all the gingerbread, molasses, and mint. So so wonderful! I love how dense and fudgy all of your bars are, no matter if they’re brownies, blondies, or cookie bars, and these are no exception!

  4. They’re like a Gingerbread brownie. Be still my heart… I’m in looooove!

  5. Oh yes, I love these proper autumn flavours. I’m definitely team gingerbread all the way especially in combination with chocolate.

  6. they sound like great brownies for the holidays!

  7. Averie, if these are even HALF as delicious as the molasses chocolate chip cookies you made last year (hands down, my absolute favourite holiday cookie ever) then I gotta make these asap. I’m so happy it’s holiday baking time again!

    • So if it was possible to top those cookies, I think I did. The post will go live Tuesday. STUNNING cookies. Omg. Do you have coconut oil? Go get some if you don’t. If you loved last year’s version, this years is probably even better!

  8. I was pinning these before I even read the post. Oh MY. I want these NOW.

    Would you believe me if I told you that I literally JUST pulled out a tray of cookies with a fall-like flavor? I was debating between cinnamon molasses peanut butter and and cinnamon maple peanut butter, but I went maple at the last minute. They’re delicious also, but these are definitely the flavor I’m going for next.

    I would take molasses and ginger over pumpkin ANY day!

    • cinnamon maple peanut butter = I’ve done it, last fall. So good!

      I have never done cinnamon molasses peanut butter and want to. Like right now!

      Thanks for pinning and Katie, omg, one of the best things I’ve made all year. I know you appreciate molasses/ginger like I do, and these are like a gingerbread brownie – meets molasses fudge. There are no words. I was thrilled with the way they came out and if there’s a way for you to recreate these, DO IT!!

  9. No word of a lie, I made almost the exact same thing today, just a bit less ginger. I love a good gingery kick though! Great minds think alike :)

  10. Averie, this is hands down my favorite recipe on your blog! the bars look so moist and chewy, and your photos are absolutely stunning

  11. I love how chewy these bars look – they’d be such a hit with my brother, he’s a huge fan of gingerbread and molasses!

  12. Wow, I love how dense this looks. Almost like a brownie actually! Or like fudge, as you described.

    I have to admit that I am not sick of pumpkin yet. Which is okay, because I can still enjoy gingerbread, peppermint, and pumpkin all together! I am a fan of all of them.

    I usually try to avoid cooking with molasses because I find that it becomes such a sticky mess and cleaning is not my forte.

    I am thinking that peanut butter would be a really good addition to this recipe. The protein in it would be great for an after-workout snack!

    • Normally I put PB in everything (hence, my cookbook, 100 PB recipes!) but I also love molasses so much too – and I can assure you it’s not at all sticky in this application. You’re going to love it here! PB could be a fun twist as well.

  13. Oh my gosh, these bars look absolutely phenomenal! The combination of chocolate + gingerbread is something that I have yet to try, but it looks so delicious.
    Gorgeous photos!
    Pinned.

  14. I ADORE how dark and dense these look!!! I def. prefer gingerbread and molasses to pumpkin, so hooray!!!

  15. OMGGGG why do you not live with me and feed me everyday? We need to discuss this.

  16. Yesss, gingerbread! Your bars are always cut so perfectly! They look like something out a of pretty magazine. :) I love how dense and fudgy these are. Always the best way to go!

  17. Gingerbread is a favorite of mine and I much prefer a cake version to the cookies. Plus I struggle to eat the little men and women. These bars looks so delicious and I love the chocolate addition.

  18. Mmm, just made these and in the apartment “it’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas”! :) Can’t wait to taste them tomorrow! Thanks for the recipe!!

    Alison :o)

    • You are so smart to just let them cool and rest overnight! Good girl :) I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! Keep me posted!

      • I was on the verge of too-tired-to-bake-tonight, but thought it wise to take your advice and bake them this evening so I could let them rest overnight! I’m sure I’ll love them (the batter was really delicious)! I didn’t have molasses (not sure it’s available here in Belgium), but used a dark syrup from Sweden that has a similar flavor/consistency. Thank you!

      • Just one more comment–these remind me so much of my favorite German Christmas-time cookies: the lebkuchen (think they’re called)–soft spicy gingerbread cookies covered with dark chocolate. I always buy bunches if I’m in Germany around Christmas, but now I don’t have to miss them! The flavors are so similar. I took the whole pan (doubled it and made it in a 9×13) to a party, but I’ll need to make another smaller pan soon… :)

  19. well now that’s a new combo!
    I can never come up with new ways to bake with molasses.
    good idea Av!
    have a great weekend doll–sorry I’ve been absent from leaving comments!

  20. I love that you’ve transitioned to gingerbread! I’m still on a pumpkin kick but as soon as my pumpkin phase is over, this is next on my list!

  21. These look dreamy and they are perfect for the holidays! You have a way of getting the perfect texture with everything you make!

  22. I’m not ready to hand in my pumpkin just yet but I’m more than willing to share the love with gingerbread! Spectacular!!

  23. Sigh. These cookie bars are the epitome of dreamy! I feel like I can already smell the delicious aroma of spicy molasses and ginger wafting through my kitchen… but sadly, that’s only my over-active imagination and not a pan of these sinful bars. Dying!

  24. These bars look so good Averie. Every bit as good as all of your molasses desserts and all of the ones on your new Pinterest board. I love the combination of gingerbread and chocolate. It was a new combination to me up until last year and now I know I have to create something with it again.

    As if the title and photos weren’t enough, the 7 teaspoons of spices has me sold!

    • Sally these bars were my heaven and they’d be yours too. They are like molasses fudge meets gingerbread brownie. I mean just divine if I do say so. They’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but if you’re down with 7 tsp of spices and bold flavors, and really dense, fudgy desserts – they’re dreamy :)

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