Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars

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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.

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 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.

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

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

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4.57 from 32 votes

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars

By Averie Sunshine
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.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 34 minutes
Additional Time: 21 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
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Ingredients  

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 stick, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup unsulphered light or medium molasses
  • 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 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  • 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.
  • Add the flour and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
  • Stir in 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips.
  • Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  • Evenly sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the top, pressing them down very lightly with a spatula.
  • 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?

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating




Comments

    1. It would make them more airy rather than dense. To me, I like them as written but feel free to do what you think you will prefer.

      1. I did add a low tsp of baking soda. The bars are still quite dense. Your description and directions are spot on. I cut the spice amounts in half. The spice flavors are still quite bold. The semi sweet chocolate chips taste great paired with the spices. A unique treat.

  1. Hi there! I love your recipes! I’m planing on making these for Christmas. Do you think I could sub cinnamon chips instead of chocolate chips?

  2. 5 stars
    So good! I baked mine for only 30 mins and used about 1/4 cup of golden syrup with 1/4 of molasses instead of 1/2 molasses. They turned out amazing with a chewy soft center and a crispy crunchy outside. I recommend!!!

  3. 5 stars
    So good! I baked mine for only 30 mins and used about 1/4 cup of golden syrup with 1/4 of molasses instead of 1/2 molasses. They turned out amazing with a chewy soft center and a crispy crunchy outside. I recommend!!!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad they turned out amazing! This recipe is nearly 10 years old on my site but I personally love love these bars and I am so glad you do too!

  4. 5 stars
    These are so amazing. Chewy and fudgy. Really unique flavor. I added a half teaspoon of Chinese five spice as part of the cinnamon. Ginger bread man fell in love with a brownie and had a delicious baby.

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Averie!!!
    I, like you, absolutely love peanut butter, chocolate, pumpkin & exercise! I had to let you know that this morning I mixed up (but have not baked yet) your molasses coconut oil cookies, because EVERY recipe I try for molasses cookies is just lacking something. I cannot wait to bake these, based on your recipe for soft & chewy gingerbread molasses cc bars, which I then had to make. Totally chilled & set up, they were AWESOME!!! But I just didn’t want the chocolate chips to interfere with the yummy ginger deliciousness…so I used white chocolate chips, less than called for. OMG, so yummy….THANK YOU!!!! Looking forward to the cookies. Have a blessed & wonderful Christmas!!!! Now going to have to do the Baileys & Eggnog thing!!!!

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Averie!!!
    I, like you, absolutely love peanut butter, chocolate, pumpkin & exercise! I had to let you know that this morning I mixed up (but have not baked yet) your molasses coconut oil cookies, because EVERY recipe I try for molasses cookies is just lacking something. I cannot wait to bake these, based on your recipe for soft & chewy gingerbread molasses cc bars, which I then had to make. Totally chilled & set up, they were AWESOME!!! But I just didn’t want the chocolate chips to interfere with the yummy ginger deliciousness…so I used white chocolate chips, less than called for. OMG, so yummy….THANK YOU!!!! Looking forward to the cookies. Have a blessed & wonderful Christmas!!!! Now going to have to do the Baileys & Eggnog thing!!!!

  7. 5 stars
    I made these for a Christmas party this year. Was afraid to take them because I thought they were too spicy. They got rave reviews! What do I know? One friend, who says she doesn’t even like gingerbread, loved them! Go figure. I’ll be making these again! Try them if you love BOLD flavors, as Averie says!

    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad these were a big hit at your Christmas party! I have found that when people are exposed to bold flavors they actually really like them. Glad to hear that was the case here.

  8. 5 stars
    I made these for a Christmas party this year. Was afraid to take them because I thought they were too spicy. They got rave reviews! What do I know? One friend, who says she doesn’t even like gingerbread, loved them! Go figure. I’ll be making these again! Try them if you love BOLD flavors, as Averie says!

  9. Hi Averie, I am excited to try these bars. I have the Wilton gingerbread boy cake pan and thought it would be cute to make these bars in that pan. Do you suggest doubling the recipe for this pan?

    Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

    Desiree

    1. I don’t know how big that pan is so it’s hard to say. This makes an 8×8 pan and if you know the approximate dimensions of that pan, you can so some quick volume calculations and see if they’re similar.

  10. Well, you know what I am going to say, I guess! Monday is National Molasses bar day, and with it on the horizon, it’s time to buy the ingredients for these perfectly fudge-like textured treats. :-)

  11. Listen, i do not like brownies or fudge or much of a chocolate person for that matter. But these bars are definitly my thing. A lady brought them to work one holiday season and i’ve been making them ever since!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it’s an annual tradition! This is one of my personal favorite recipes! Everything about these things…mmmm :)

  12. Here we are in the middle of the summer, and I want these NOW. I love what you said about doubling the cinnamon. Every time I make ANYTHING I’m like, “A teaspoon of cinnamon? What? [dumps five or six big shakes into the mix].”

    Also, thinking about the rum flavor that develops overnight, I find that if I slightly underbake brownies, etc, that they can actually ferment slightly if left for a couple of days at room temperature. Normally that would be bad, so I’ll keep them refrigerated, but since rum is made from molasses and they go well together…interesting!

    1. If you like cinnamon, rum, molasses, and any of those kind of gingerbready flavors, you will love these. One of my personal favorite recipes on my site (out of maybe 2000 original recipes?) and this one is a total personal fave!!

  13. Hi Averie,

    These looks amazing! Just wondering how you think they’d be without any chocolate chips in them? I’d like to make them plain. Would that change the baking time at all?

    Thanks so much :)

    1. The chocolate adds SO MUCH trust me, it really does. I love it so much in these bars. It really is perfect and I wouldn’t mess with the recipe at all. But if you must, omit and you may need to reduce baking time slightly.

      1. Thanks for the advice, Averie…and the quick response! I’m sure the chocolate is amazing but I’d like to make them for a family get-together, and my father can’t have chocolate :(

      2. I had a feeling after you asked that if there was a chocolate allergy or something along those lines…you will still enjoy them without the chocolate :) And so nice of you to bake for you dad!