Happy winter solstice, friends! This is one of my favorite days of the year. And it’s just a few more days until Christmas, so seasonal flavors – like these gingerbread bars – are definitely in order.
Most bars I found online had a cream cheese frosting, but because Mike took them to work today I wanted to have a more stable, room-temperature-friendly frosting on them. Enter molasses buttercream, a tasty topping I’ve used on gingerbread cake before. You could also frost these with a tangy lemon buttercream, as gingerbread and lemon are good flavor friends. These bars taste absolutely amazing, but they’re just a bit more dry than I’d like. I suspect I baked them a few minutes too long, but I’m sure I’ll make them again, and can safely shorten my baking time to about 16-18 minutes, rather than 18-20.
For the bars
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Pinch of cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons molasses
For the frosting
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 9 baking tin with foil, extending the foil over the sides.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat to combine, then scrape down the sides of your bowl and add the flour mixture. Beat to combine completely.
Press mixture into the baking tin; you can use your palm to flatten it or the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, beat butter for about 1 minute, then add all the powdered sugar at once and beat on low, then medium speed until the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter. Add molasses and ginger and beat to fully combine, scraping the sides of the bowl at least a few times.
Remove bars from pan and discard the foil; frost with molasses buttercream. Cut into squares; I made small squares, so my batch yielded about 24 bars, but I think a more ideal quantity would be 16.