These gingerbread cookie bars are like a mix between gingerbread cookies and a gingerbread cake! These soft and chewy bars are made in 1 bowl without a mixer. They’re topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting.
I love gingerbread anything when it comes to the holidays! Gingerbread mug cake? Sign me up. Chocolate gingerbread cookies? Yes please! This gingerbread cookie bar recipe is a simple bar recipe that you can quickly whip up with minimal equipment.
These gingerbread cookie bars are soft, chewy and almost fluffy. The cream cheese frosting is borrowed from my peppermint bark brownies!
Why you’ll love these gingerbread cookie bars!
- They’re packed with flavor thanks to molasses and spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.
- These gingerbread bars use simple pantry ingredients that you probably already have at home!
- The bars can be made in 1 bowl and all you need is a whisk and a rubber spatula.
- Once cooled, they’re topped with the best cream cheese frosting and Christmas sprinkles.
- Spices: I’m using ground spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves!
- Flour: I’ve only tested this recipe with all purpose flour.
- Unsalted Butter: you’ll need to melt the butter before starting the recipe, but make sure it isn’t too warm when you pour it into the other ingredients.
- Yogurt: you could use buttermilk or sour cream instead. I recommend using full fat products here!
- Molasses: don’t use blackstrap molasses. If you’re in the UK you can use black treacle.
- Cream Cheese: if your cream cheese comes in tubs make sure to pat it down with a paper towel, as that cream cheese has more moisture than the cream cheese that comes in packets.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°Fahrenheit/175°Celsius. Grease and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar and egg until thick. Pour in the cooled melted butter, yogurt, molasses, spices, salt and vanilla extract.
Step 2: Fold in the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Fold until there are no more streaks of flour.
Step 3: Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-23 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.
Step 4: Allow the cookie bar to cool in the pan while you work on the frosting. You want the gingerbread to be completely cool before icing!
Step 5: In a large bowl with a handheld mixer, combine the room temperature butter with the cream cheese. Beat for 1-2 minutes until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar, and a pinch of salt. Beat until light and fluffy.
Step 6: Take the cooled cookie bars out of the pan. Spread the frosting over and add some sprinkles. Slice into 8 large rectangular bars or smaller squares. Enjoy!
Baking Tips & Tricks
- Measuring – I highly recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It makes a huge difference to your baking and is the most accurate way to bake!
- Fluff and Sprinkle Flour – if you aren’t weighing your ingredients and are using a measuring cup, then use the fluff and sprinkle method to measure your flour. Go to this link here to find out how to do that. If you don’t measure the flour accurately and add too much, the gingerbread will come out too dry.
- Use unsulphured molasses – blackstrap molasses will be too bitter, so make sure you are using the correct kind of molasses! If you’re in the UK you can use black treacle instead.
- Don’t overbake – these cookie bars can quickly become dry if you overbake them, so it is better to slightly underbake this rather than overbaking them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Because of the cream cheese frosting I recommend storing them in the fridge for up to 5 days.
First step is making sure not to over mix the batter, as that will change the texture. Second, make sure you are not over baking these gingerbread bars!
Nope! If you prefer you could just leave them plain, or just before baking sprinkle some raw sugar or demerara sugar on top for a sparkling finish!
Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 8×8 baking pan
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons molasses
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup full fat yogurt room temperature
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3 oz full fat cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- pinch salt
- Preheat your oven to 350°Fahrenheit/175°Celsius. Grease and line an 8×8 baking pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar with the egg for 1 minute until thick and smooth.
- Pour in the melted butter, yogurt, molasses, spices, salt and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
- Fold in the dry ingredients, using a rubber spatula to combine everything. Fold until there are no more streaks of flour.
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to make sure the batter is even. Bake for 20-23 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out clean or with just a few crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan.
- In a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer, or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and cream cheese together. Beat for about 1-2 minutes until smooth.
- Add the confectioners' sugar, and salt. Beat again for 1 minute until light and fluffy.
- Take the cooled cake out of the pan and spread the cream cheese frosting on top. Add sprinkles if you wish! Cut into 8 rectangular bars or you can cut into smaller squares if you prefer.