Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Are ginger/molasses cookies totally just Christmas cookies? Cause it’s not even Thanksgiving and I’ve been craving these since….umm…June?!

Actually, since me and a few of my blogging friends were in Austin at Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop and we tried their amazing ginger cookies, that’s when my love affair started.

There ain’t nothing wrong with chewy cookie bars. Or cream cheese frosting.

And, interesting fact: cookie bars are approximately 17.2 times EASIER to make then actual cookies. And you are 24.9 times less likely to screw them up. I love not scooping cookie dough, or waiting in 8 minute intervals to switch cookie sheets in the oven.

If you’re planning on making some sort of treats for neighbors or loved ones this holiday season, I’d recommend cookie bars. These cookie bars. Fun, festive, easy and my new favorite holiday treat. And I’m not just saying that. These are my favorites as of now. Wanna make ’em? THOUGHT SO.

Here we go:
IMG_0139Start by creaming butter with brown sugar and sugar.IMG_0144To that, add in some molasses, an egg and some vanilla.IMG_0146Stir it up until smooth. It might look a little funky, but it’s totes normal.IMG_0148Now you can measure out all your dry ingredients. Aaaaand, lets pretend that the ginger is actually in this photo and I didn’t forget to add it in until the VERY end. *total blonde moment*IMG_0151Once those ingredients are incorporated, you have a mighty tasty cookie dough if I do say so myself.IMG_0153Press cookie dough into a small jellyroll pan greased well with nonstick cooking spray AND lined with foil. Bake and get ready to live!!IMG_0215While the cookie bars are doing their thing in the oven, make the frosting. Stir together some softened butter, softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla.IMG_0220Whip it good until it’s completely smooth and set aside.IMG_0225Once your cookie bars come out of the oven, cool completely and then frost. IMG_0246Cut into bars immediately!!!!! And then shove them into your pie hole share them with your friends.
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Yes puh-lease. Come to mama!

These are my new favorite treat to make because they are seriously super soft and chewy, plus the cream cheese frosting is simply *amazing* with the ginger cookie base. Be sure to print this recipe…you’re going to want to make these again and again!

{*This recipe is adapted from my gingerdoodle cookies…just baked into bars with cream cheese frosting.}

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Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 16 bars

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • for the frosting-
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line 12.25” x 8.75” x 1” jelly roll pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Stir in egg, vanilla and molasses. Whip 1-2 minutes or until it turns a light brown color. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until dry ingredients are just combined. Press into prepared pan and bake 20-22 minutes or until edges are barely starting to brown. Cool completely.
  4. For the frosting- whip all ingredients together until smooth. Spread overtop bars and cut into squares. Serve immediately or store in air tight container.
  5. *if you don't have a small jellyroll pan, you can use a glass 8x8 dish, just add 2-3 extra minutes to the baking time.*

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49 Comments

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  1. Lauren,
    I made your Gingerdoodles for the first time, and they were a crowd pleaser with my family. I’ll have to give the Gingerbread Bars a whirl next.

    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!

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  2. I am seriously drooling over these right now. MUST. HAVE. NOW.

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  3. What size is a small jelly roll pan?

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  4. we make ginger cookies year round so no judgment here! and I’ve also been on a gingerbread scone kick and I have no plans of stopping that year round either 😉 Love the frosting on these!

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  5. Anything that gets those into my face faster is fine by me!! Ain’t no one got time for scooping dough and rotating cookie sheets! FEED ME, yo!

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  6. So delighted to see an easy ginger cookie recipe this morning that I immediately pulled together all the ingredients and made them by noon. The cookies are wonderfully spiced, soft and totally delicious….. and I haven’t even frosted them yet! Thanks, Lauren!!

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  7. Lauren brought these over on Sunday and I devoured a ton of them. And it just finished baking my own batch. I’m in trouble!!

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  8. I made these this afternoon. They are really good, but my dough wasn’t as stiff as yours. The color was also darker, maybe I added too much molasses. They look darker than your finished product. Thoughts?

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    • Lauren — November 14th, 2013 @ 8:26 am

      Maybe you used dark brown sugar? Not sure…did they taste ok?

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      • Marne — November 14th, 2013 @ 8:48 am

        They tasted great!. Very chewy. I used light brown sugar. The dough was never stiff. At first I thought maybe I didn’t add enough flour, but I checked and I did. I will try them again. They are delish!. My daughter just moved to Austin we are going to visit the Sugar Momma’s Bakeshop while i am there. I will see the real deal:) PS frosting TDF

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  9. I love your food pics!! All of them make me want to go right thru the computer screen and devour all of your recipes!. I adore gingerbread flavor–these bars look incredible!

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    • Lauren — November 15th, 2013 @ 8:46 am

      Aww, thank you 🙂

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  10. Hi there 🙂 I really really want to make these but I live in Mexico and I can’t easily get brown sugar. I do have white sugar and a bottle of molasses- can you help me with a variation? Thanks!

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  11. I made these last night for a family event. I don’t have a jelly roll pan so I made them in an 8×8 glass dish and they were super thick, more like cake. It took almost double the bake time, but they were still delicious! The whole pan was inhaled, I think my brother had like 4 pieces. Next time I’ll make them in 9×13 pan so they are thinner like the ones you made.

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  12. Do you have any suggestions for a substitution for the molasses? I haven’t found any where I live (yet) but love gingerbread flavored things. The only thing I have found is either light or brown syrup. Both are very thick, so not sure if it would work instead…I don’t remember molasses being that thick. Thoughts?

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    • Lauren — November 17th, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

      Maybe Dark corn syrup? But if its super thick then I don’t know if/how that would work…..can you buy molasses online?

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    • Shannon — November 24th, 2013 @ 6:52 am

      What about honey, treacle or golden syrup? That would be a little lighter taste, but I bet it would be good.

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      • Lauren — November 24th, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

        I haven’t tried any of those substitutes, but they should work just fine!

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  13. Maybe a silly question, but do you grease the pan and then add a layer of foil or do you lay foil in the pan and butter the foil?

    Thanks!

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    • Lauren — November 17th, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

      Lay foil in, then grease! Thats what I did and worked just fine.

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  14. I made these today. They were delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe. I will be making these often!

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  15. These were great – and simple. I used a 13×9 pan since I don’t have a small jelly roll pan and it worked perfectly (same cooking time).

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  16. I loved these. My husband who doesn’t really like gingerbread said they were ok and then ate two more. Thanks for another great recipe.

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  17. Oh Wow! I made these last week and they were a hit. I didn’t ice them, and they were just fantastic! Thank you so much. This recipe is a keeper!

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  18. I’m going to make these for an office potluck but will need to make them the night before. Would you suggest storing at room temperature or the fridge?

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    • Lauren — December 8th, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

      I’d probably keep them in the fridge just because it makes them easier to cut 🙂

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      • Lindsay — December 11th, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

        These were such a hit!!! Amazingly good!! I will be making these again and again and again….

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  19. These are literally the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Made them for thanksgiving and they lasted 3 days between my husband and I. We were also really lazy and didn’t wrap them and they were still moist and fresh tasting, just sitting on the table.

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  20. I love gingerbread with lemon frosting so I’m going to add lemon juice and zest to the cream cheese frosting. Thanks for the delicious idea! Better than rolling out dough for gingerbread men!

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  21. I just made these and they are delicious! Thanks!

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  22. Made these last night and they were a HUGE hit !! I only had a full size jellyroll pan, so I doubled the recipe and now have a million of these delicious treats !! Cant wait to put them out when people come over at Christmas !! Thanks !!

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  23. OMG these are sooooooo good!!! I brought them to a book club gathering, and then my hubby took the rest to work, and everyone seriously LOVED them! I baked them in a 8×11 pan, and they were about an inch thick, and had the best texture …. Nice and dense and chewy 🙂 I will be making these again for sure!!!

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  24. Just made these in my 10×15 jellyroll pan, and they are delicious! This recipe is a keeper. Everyone loved how moist and chewy they are.

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  25. Can you add raisins?

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  26. You should try adding more ginger to these sometime. I make a very similar recipe from Bon Appetit, also called Gingerbread Bars (but without the frosting), and it calls for 2 tsp. ground ginger. My family requests that I make them every Christmas! So good!! My sister wants me to add cream cheese frosting to them, so I’m going to use your recipe for that this year. Thanks!

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  27. This looks so yummy. Gingerbread + cream cheese is always a winner

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  28. These were wonderful – I think I may have baked them for an extra minute and the very edges got crispy like a traditional gingerbread cookie, which was an awesome contrast to the soft, chewy centers. My husband, bless his heart, took a spoon to the pan before i could cool and cut them – we will easily have these finished within 24 hours, especially with the help of a couple friends. 😉 Thank you!!

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  29. Can you freeze these?

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    • Lauren — December 14th, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

      Freeze the baked cookie before frosting! The cream cheese will defrost grainy….not the best.

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  30. Rilea was supposed to give this to you today. Sorry I had to send through the school email. I hope you get it before Christmas. If you like gingerbread cookies, this is an awesome recipe. Tastes just like a frosted gingerbread cookie.

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  31. This recipe was a disaster. I had to add water to get a more malleable dough, then cut out some of the spices and bump seem up in order to get it to gingerbread.

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