Soft, moist, and fudge-like; these Iced Gingerbread Bars taste like the familiar flavours of Christmas, but have the texture of a dense, chocolaty brownie.
Welcome to Day 19 of Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas! Today, let’s talk gingerbread! More specifically, Iced Gingerbread Bars! Why? Well, because in our home, the flavours of the spices that combine to create the wonder that is gingerbread is always welcomed; not just as Christmastime, but anytime!
GINGERBREAD CRAVINGS START IN SEPTEMBER FOR ME!
I think we start eating gingerbread flavoured baked goods in late September. And, it really does continue until well into January. (That’s because I’ve baked so much, that our fridge is probably still running over with it until mid-January!)
THE ORIGINS OF GINGERBREAD
The history of gingerbread is quite the story, and quite lengthy too. I love to learn about where food comes from and why we make food items the way we do. Gingerbread is no exception. I read that the origins of gingerbread can be traced back to the year 992. It was created by an Armenian monk. He was responsible for teaching the French how to bake gingerbread.
In the 13th century, the Germans brought gingerbread to Sweden. Soon, Swedish nuns adopted gingerbread because they thought it to be medicinal and would help with issues like indigestion. They were responsible for the decoration of gingerbread; they would paint them to look like church windows.
Fast forward to the 17th century. Gingerbread was being sold in pharmacies and town squares, again for medicinal purposes. Eventually, gingerbread found its way to North America and was first recorded in a cookbook dated 1796.
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
THANK GOODNESS FOR MOLASSES!
It is said that Americans were responsible for giving the gingerbread its brown colour. Previously, gingerbread was white, because it was made with white sugar. Molasses proved to be less expensive. And, soon, it became a substitute, therefore, we now associated gingerbread with that dark brown colour.
Isn’t history awesome? I wish I had paid more attention in history class during my school years! My daughter, McKenna, has a great interest in history; she got that from her mother, not me! Anyway, I digress. Let’s talk more about this particular gingerbread recipe.
WE LOVE GINGERBREAD!
Lord Byron’s Kitchen is certainly no stranger to the wonderful spices that make up the awesomeness that is gingerbread. But, when it comes to gingerbread recipes itself, I’m afraid my blog is lacking. I have my Gingerbread Bundt Cake and my Gingerbread Truffles. There’s just so much more to do with the flavours of gingerbread!
I think when most of us hear the term gingerbread, we automatically think of an icing-covered, candy-coated, barely-standing-up-straight, too-tough-to-bite, cookie house at Christmastime. I use to love helping and watching McKenna decorate those when she was a kid, but Lord, it was messy!
We were always worried that the cats were going to eat the icing and we all know just how that would end up! The gingerbread house was never eaten. Like I said, it was always too hard, and by the time we got around to it, it had been sitting for a few days. Gross.
A CHRISTMAS BROWNIE OF SORTS!
Can I tell you something though, Dear Reader? There is absolutely no risk of these Iced Gingerbread Bars sitting around, because nobody will eat them – no, not the case at all! These particular Iced Gingerbread Bars, unlike that horrible house, is soft and moist, like a brownie; it’s fudge-y and warming and comforting and delicious and homey and soothing and I’ve carried this grammatically incorrect sentence on for way too long.
But, you get the point! The point is, Dear Reader, that if you make these Iced Gingerbread Bars, you should eat your share immediately, or squirrel a few bars away for later, because they will not last very long!
I guess that’s okay though. I don’t know about you, but the reason I bake so much is because I love to share these homemade treats with my family, friends, and coworkers. After all, I find the best pleasure is giving at Christmastime rather than receiving. Who’s with me?
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
In some cases, we want more than a cookie. That’s why I have two more Christmas-themed collections you might want to consider. The first, is my 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas, and the second is my 12 Biscotti of Christmas. Click on the image below to see each collection all on one page with links to each recipe!
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
These bars will stay fresh for about 3 days in a covered container and in a cool place. But, if you plan to freeze these bars, use a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that freshness locked in!
You can freeze these bars for up to three months. They will come out of the freezer looking just like they did when you put them in there. Just be sure to not layer them. Even if you lay parchment between each layer, they will not look as pretty. You’re better off packing them into one layer, even if you have to use another container! Once you thaw them, they will taste just as fresh, and be just as soft, as the day you first baked them.
If you’re feeling extra festive, make a double batch and share these with your friends and neighbours. I cannot tell you enough times how much people love to receive homemade Christmas cookies and bars. And it feels so good to do so!
Just as an FYI, you don’t need to make this cookie only at Christmastime. Be like us and enjoy gingerbread flavours all year round. Also, if you’re looking for more gingerbread bang for your buck, try my Spiced Gingerbread Biscotti!
Iced Gingerbread Bars
For the Bars:
- 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
For the Frosting:
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 3 tablespoons sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 9×13 inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, pour in the melted butter, add the sugar, and the molasses. Beat with a hand-held mixer until smooth.
- Add the egg and beat into the butter and sugar mixture.
- Add the rest of the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves. Mix into the wet ingredients until just mixed through.
- Transfer the dough to the baking pan and press the dough into the pan until evenly distributed and flat.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the bars to completely cool.
- Once cooled, prepare the frosting by by beating together the frosting ingredients with a hand-held mixer until creamy and smooth.
- Spread evenly over the bars. Top with sprinkles and refrigerate for one hour.
- Lift the bars out of the baking pan, using the parchment paper to lift. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 24 squares.
- Bars can be stored in a food-safe container in the fridge for 5-7 days. If you want to freeze, do not frost. Add the frosting after the bars are completely thawed.