Gingerbread Cookie Bars

24 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Gingerbread Cookie Bars turn classic holiday cookies into soft chewy bars topped with cream cheese frosting. Make them for holiday parties!

This Frosted Gingerbread Bar recipe is a twist on classic Gingerbread Cookies with all the same warm spices and molasses flavor you love baked into a Cookie Bar perfect for sharing. It is the quick and easy festive treat you need for a Christmas party or holiday potluck!

When it comes to flavors and scents that remind us of the holidays, gingerbread is always one that comes to mind first. Gingerbread flavor is actually a combination of ground ginger and rich, sweet molasses. The amazing flavor is perfect for baked goods and makes your house smell all cozy and festive as it bakes.

While classic Gingerbread Men are a go-to holiday gingerbread treat, these cookie bars are great when you want the cozy festive flavor with way less work. There’s no rolling or shaping or chilling of dough, you just whip up the ingredients, spread the dough in the pan and bake. The Gingerbread Cookie Bars get even more delicious with a layer of fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting, plus a bit of colorful sprinkles, and they are ready for your holiday dessert table!

Gingerbread Cookie Bars ingredients
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Ingredients

  • Flour: By combining both white flour and wheat flour, the Gingerbread Cookie Bars get the perfect texture. Typically cookies just use white flour, but you want bars to be a bit more sturdy. The whole wheat flour absorbs more moisture and makes the final product a bit stiffer. But, using half white flour still keeps them moist and tender. It’s a perfect balance.
  • Ginger: Gingerbread flavor comes primarily from ginger mixed with molasses. You can also add other spices like cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg but to keep this recipe simple, we use just ginger so it really punches through.
  • Molasses: Using molasses along with the brown sugar gives the cookie bars a much richer, deeper flavor. It also adds lots of the caramely, slightly smoky molasses flavor and makes the bars extra chewy versus just using brown sugar on it’s own.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: The tangy and sweet frosting tastes incredible with the warmly spiced and chewy gingerbread bars. All you need to make the frosting is cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk. You need about 2-3 tablespoons of milk, a little at a time and go off of the texture of the frosting to decide if it needs more. 
  • Sprinkles: Just like with traditional frosted cookies, after you’ve added the frosting you can add any of your favorite holiday-themed sprinkles for decorating. Adding the frosting and sprinkles is a great part of the recipe to include your kids in the baking process.
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Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Baking Dish: To make these bars, we use a 9×13-inch baking pan. The larger pan makes lots of bars plus it keeps the bars from being too thick. If the dough is too thick, they won’t bake in the center before burning on the edges.
  • Mixer: We use a stand mixer because it’s convenient to let us add ingredients while we are mixing, but you could mix it by hand or with electric beaters. Keep in mind to cream the butter and sugar, you are going to have to hand whisk it pretty vigorously or you can get those hand crank beaters.
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How to Make

Time needed: 1 hour.

  1. Prep for Baking

    Start by preheating the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray or brush with oil and dust with flour.

  2. Mix the Cookie Dough

    Add the room temperature unsalted butter, and brown sugar to the mixer bowl of your electric stand mixer. Turn your mixer to medium speed to cream the butter mixture for about 1 minute. Next, add the molasses, eggs, and vanilla. Continue mixing until well combined. Sift the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, ginger, baking soda, and baking powder into a separate mixing bowl. Lower the electric stand mixer speed. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.Gingerbread Cookie Bars collage

  3. Bake the Cookie Bars

    Spread the dough into the baking dish. Place the prepared baking dish in the oven for 35 minutes. Make sure to let the Gingerbread Cookie Bars completely cool before frosting so it doesn’t melt.Gingerbread Cookie Bars in baking pan

  4. Prepare the Frosting

    Add the cream cheese, butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt to your stand mixer. Combine on low speed until smooth. Then slowly add 5 cups powdered sugar, mixing until smooth. Add in milk as needed to make fluffy cream cheese frosting.Gingerbread Cookie Bars collage

  5. Decorate the Cookie Bars

    Spread a thick layer of cream cheese frosting over the cooled bars and even out. Add the Christmas sprinkles over the top of the frosting before it sets. Once the frosting has set, use a sharp knife to cut the Gingerbread Cookie Bars into squares.Gingerbread Cookie Bars sliced on counter

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Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Gingerbread Cookie Bars
Amount Per Serving
Calories 325 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Trans Fat 0.4g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 49mg16%
Sodium 171mg7%
Potassium 122mg3%
Carbohydrates 52g17%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 43g48%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 426IU9%
Vitamin C 0.002mg0%
Calcium 48mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Baking Tips & Tricks

How to Cut Cookie Bars Cleanly

If you want clean edges for your cookie bars, use a large sharp knife. It is also helpful to line your baking pan with parchment paper. Once the bars are cooked and cooled, lift the whole block of cooked bars out of the pan and frost them. This allows you to cut the bars in one motion all the way to the edge.

Know When the Cookies Are Done

It can be hard to tell when these darker cookies are done baking but there are a couple things to look for to check on them. The edges should be set but not too dark, and slightly pulling from the side of the pan. Also the center should pass the toothpick test, with no raw dough sticking to an inserted toothpick.

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Drinks: Of course you’ll want to serve these festive delicious holiday cookie bars up with a mug of Hot Chocolate or Eggnog for the ultimate Christmas Eve treat.

Toppings: You can top the gingerbread cookie bar base with classic Buttercream Frosting or add some more holiday flavor with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. A drizzle of Salted Caramel Sauce over the frosting or a layer of Chocolate Ganache before you add the frosting would be amazing!

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How to Store

Store: After baking, you can leave Gingerbread Cookie Bars at room temperature overnight. Make sure you cover them in foil or plastic wrap to keep them fresh. To keep leftovers, put the covered bars in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Freeze: You could also freeze the cookie bars. Slice the gingerbread into squares. Then place them in an airtight container with parchment paper between each layer. They can stay good frozen for up to 3 months.

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Ideas to Serve

The cute, decorated Gingerbread Bars are the ultimate holiday baking idea. You can serve them on a holiday cookie platter with other treats, bring a pan to a Christmas party, They’re the perfect seasonal dessert to add to any holiday occasion.

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Frequent Questions

What is the difference between Gingerbread Cookies and Ginger Cookies?

The biggest difference between gingerbread and ginger cookies is that gingerbread cookies are typically rolled cookies that are chilled and shaped before baking. Ginger cookies on the other hand are drop cookies and they tend to be baked longer so they are crispier.

Should Gingerbread be hard or soft?

It really depends on how you want to use the gingerbread. If you are making gingerbread houses, you want the cookie to be sturdier and crispier, where soft and chewy is better for cookies and cookie bars.

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Recipe Card

Gingerbread Cookie Bars

Gingerbread Cookie Bars turn classic holiday cookies into soft chewy bars topped with cream cheese frosting. Make them for holiday parties!
Yield 24 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

Gingerbread Cookie Bars

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 3/4 cups brown sugar , packed
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons whole milk
  • Christmas Sprinkles

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with baking spray.
  • To your stand mixer, add the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for 1 minute, until creamed together.
  • Add in the molasses, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.
  • Sift together the flour, whole wheat flour, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Lower the speed on the stand mixer to the lowest setting and add in the dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Spread batter evenly into your baking pan.
  • Bake for 35 minutes.
  • Let cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • On low speed, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and salt in a large bowl until smooth.
  • Slowly add powdered sugar, beating until creamy, adding milk as needed.
  • Spread frosting over cooled cookie bars in a thick, even layer.
  • Top with Christmas sprinkles before the frosting sets.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 171mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 426IU | Vitamin C: 0.002mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg

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Spices: Gingerbread Cookie Bars get their classic ginger flavor from the ground ginger. If you want to add more favorite holiday flavors, you can add other aromatic spices. A teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, allspice, or ground cloves would all add lots of warm, spiced flavor to the cookies.

Add-ins: There are plenty of delicious mix-ins that you could try in this gingerbread recipe. Chopped nuts, cinnamon chips, or white chocolate chips would all taste amazing mixed into the cookie dough. You could also add different toppings like sanding sugar, red cinnamon candies, or shaved chocolate.

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More Sweet Gingerbread Treats!

Gingerbread Cookie Bars collage with frosted bars lined up on top, stacks of bars below recipe title

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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