These Gingerbread Cookie Bars feature a layer of homemade chewy gingerbread cookies that are smothered with rich cream cheese frosting. Adorned with festive sprinkles, they’re the perfect sweet treat for the holiday season.
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Chewy Gingerbread Cookie Bars
Holiday baking just wouldn’t be complete without gingerbread desserts. But if your holidays are like mine, sometimes things are too busy to break out the cookie cutters to make individual gingerbread men. That’s where these gingerbread cookie bars come in.
With these easy chewy cookie bars, you’ll get that same wonderful combination of warm spiced gingerbread but with a homemade, luscious cream cheese frosting. They make the perfect dessert for holiday parties, cookie exchanges, or just a decadent treat for the family.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Easy recipe –This cookie bars recipe is a great alternative to a traditional gingerbread cookie recipe because there’s no chilling or rolling required.
- Perfect holiday treat – With amazing flavor, chewy texture, and fluffy cream cheese frosting, these gingerbread treats make a delicious addition to festive cookie trays or dessert tables.
- Homemade cream cheese frosting – These cookie bars take an ordinary gingerbread cookie to a whole new level with a rich and decadent frosting.
- 9 x 13 baking dish
- Stand mixer (or electric hand mixer)
- Measuring cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Large mixing bowl
- Medium Mixing Bowl
- All-purpose flour – Key ingredient in making the homemade gingerbread dough.
- Baking soda – This is a leavening agent that makes the bars rise and have a soft, chewy texture.
- Ground Cinnamon, ground ginger ground cloves – Classic spices that give the cookie layer gingerbread flavor. You can use a premixed gingerbread spice mix instead.
- Salt – Balance out the sweetness of the sugar.
- Unsalted Butter (room temperature) – Always choose unsalted butter so you can control the amount of sodium in baked goods.
- Brown sugar – We use light brown, but you can use dark brown sugar if you prefer.
- Egg – Binder for the dough.
- Molasses – Adds sweet flavor and makes the bars moist.
- Unsalted Butter (room temperature) – Provide the frosting with rich, buttery goodness.
- Cream Cheese (room temperature) – This is the key ingredient that gives the frosting a tangy flavor.
- Confectioners’ sugar – Provides sweetness and balances out the tangy cream cheese.
- Vanilla extract – This adds flavor to the frosting.
- Sprinkles- They’re an optional festive garnish.
How to Make Easy Gingerbread Cookie Bars
Step One: Combine Dry Ingredients
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, extending the sides up the edges of the pan, and set aside.
- Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
Step Two: Mix Wet Ingredients
- Using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy.
- Add egg and blend until smooth. Add molasses and combine.
Step Three: Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients and Bake
- Add the flour mixture in thirds and blend until combined.
- Place cookie dough into the prepared pan, pressing with fingers, and bake for 15-18 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.
Step Four: Make the Frosting and Decorate
- With an electric mixer, in a medium bowl, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 4 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
- Add powdered sugar in thirds and vanilla, and beat for an additional 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Spread the delicious cream cheese frosting over the cooled cookie bars. Add sprinkles if desired. Slice and enjoy.
Chewy Gingerbread Bars Variations and Add-ins
- Chocolate chips- Fold in a cup of white chocolate chips into the cookie dough.
- Nuts – Add a bit of crunch by adding chopped nuts, like pecans or walnuts.
- Maple pecan frosting – Add just a few drops of maple syrup and some chopped, toasted pecans to the cream cheese frosting.
- Caramel drizzle – Instead of sprinkles, drizzle the frosting with a little caramel sauce.
- Dried cranberries or craisins- Add little bites of chewy sweetness with dried cranberries. Fold in about ½ cup into the batter.
- Frosting – If you’re short on time, you can use premade frosting from the grocery store.
How Do I Store These Frosted Bar Cookies?
- Serving- Because they’re frosted, these cookie bars can sit out for about an hour or so before moving to the fridge.
- Fridge- Keep these bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezer- Freeze leftover gingerbread bars by placing them on a cookie sheet with a little bit of space between them and freeze for 1-2 hours. Then, wrap the bars in two layers of plastic wrap, then slip them into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. They can freeze for 1-2 months.
Thawing- Unwrap the frozen bars and allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight or at room temp for a couple of hours.
Can I Use Blackstrap Molasses in this Recipe?
It’s best to avoid blackstrap molasses for this recipe because it has a very intense flavor. You’ll want to use regular or local molasses for a rich and sweet flavor without any bitterness.
More Gingerbread Recipes
- Gingerbread Fudge
- Gingerbread Sheet Cake
- Instant Pot Gingerbread Cheesecake
- Iced Gingerbread Oatmeal Cookies
- Chewy Chocolate Gingersnap Cookies
Gingerbread Cookie Bars
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 4-5 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sprinkles optional
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper or foil, extending the sides up the edges of the pan, and set aside.
- Sift Flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
- In large mixing bowl, combine butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg and blend until smooth. Add molasses and combine.
- Add in flour mixture in thirds and blend until combined.
- Place cookie dough into baking dish, pressing with fingers, and bake for 15-18 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
- In a mixer beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 4 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar in thirds and mix between each addition. Add vanilla, and beat additional 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Spread frosting over cooled cookie bars. Add sprinkles if desired. Slice and enjoy.
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