You need this recipe in your repertoire. Soft and chewy and flavored with all of the warm holiday spices we crave around the holidays, these gingerbread cookie bars are irresistible. The batter comes together in seconds, and the recipe yields a ton, making it perfect for gifting, too.

Cut gingerbread cookie bars on a plate.

In late October, my friend Julie Majors pleaded with her newsletter readers to make these cookies. They taste like gingerbread, she wrote, but the “texture is chewy like the perfect brownie.”

A photo revealing a cross-section that matched her description sold me, pushing the recipe to the top of my urgent to-make pile. But as things go, weeks passed, and then a month. I had almost forgotten about them, when Julie reminded us.

“Take them to a party,” she dared, “everyone will want the recipe.”

Last weekend I put the cookies to the test, the guinea pigs being my daughter’s hockey team, a mix of mostly teenage boys, a few teenage girls, and their parents and coaches. I was sure, of course, the group would like the bars — I had tested one the day prior, of course, as had my children, whose eyes widened upon first bite, so surprised perhaps that something so unassuming could be so delicious.

Would they love them is what I wondered. As you can see, these bars aren’t winning any beauty contests. In this season of decorated cutouts and jam-filled thumbprints and snow-capped crinkles, would anyone even consider reaching for something so plain?

But Friends, who am I kidding? What teenage kid passes on a cookie? And moreover, what these cookies lack in looks, they make up for in flavor. They are just as Julie describes: like a chewy brownie but spiced with all of those warm, wintry, and especially gingery notes of the season. As soon as I saw kids (and parents and coaches) returning to the plate for seconds (and thirds), I knew they were a winner. Love is an understatement.

Later that evening multiple people texted me asking for the recipe, which I sent along immediately with words of encouragement: make them! they’re so easy! one bowl! ungreased pan! high yield!

I imagine some of you may be holiday-cookied out, and if that is the case, I understand. For those of you who are just getting warmed up, let’s go 🎉

Note: You may be tempted to doll these up with some sort of glaze or frosting or drizzle. And to that I say: don’t you dare. These bars are perfect, inside and out, just the way they are.

Gingerbread Cookie Bars, Step by Step

First, gather your ingredients:

Ingredients to make gingerbread cookie bars.

If you wish, measure everything out first:

Measured ingredients to make gingerbread cookie bars.

Place the two sugars and the molasses in a large bowl:

A bowl of brown sugar, white sugar, and molasses.

Pour the butter over the top:

A large bowl filled with melted butter, sugar, and molasses aside a whisk.

Then whisk to combine:

A bowl of whisked together sugars, butter, and molasses aside an egg.

Add the egg and whisk again:

Adding the egg to the wet ingredients to make ginger bread cookie bars in a large bowl.

Add the spices, salt, and baking soda, and whisk again:

A bowl of brown sugar, white sugar, molasses, butter, egg, and spices.

Finally, add the flour:

Adding the flour to the bowl of gingerbread cookie bars batter in the making.

Use a spatula to incorporate the flour — the batter will be thick.

A bowl of just-mixed gingerbread cookie bar dough in a large bowl.

Transfer it to an ungreased 9×13-inch pan.

Gingerbread cookie bars dough in 9x13-inch pan.

Press it into the pan to fit:

Gingerbread cookie bar batter pressed into a 9x13-inch Pyrex pan.

Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 22 -23 minutes.

Just-baked gingerbread cookie bars in 9x13-inch pan.

Let cool for about an hour before cutting: I like to cut it into 24 squares first; then…

A 9x13-inch pan filled with cut gingerbread cookie bars.

… I cut each square in half to yield 48 little rectangles:

Cut gingerbread cookie bars on a plate.
Cut gingerbread cookie bars on a plate.

Can you taste the chewiness? You’re going to love them.

Cut gingerbread cookie bars on a plate.
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Cut gingerbread cookie bars on a plate.

Ugly, Delicious (Perfect) Gingerbread Cookie Bars


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Description

Adapted from my friend Julie Majors recipe for Easiest Ever Gingerbread. I’ve made a few small changes: I used melted butter in place of softened, I used a mix of brown and granulated sugar, and I’ve upped the salt. I also use a slightly smaller pan. 

Notes: 

  • Molasses: I’ve used Grandma’s and Crosby’s here. Do not use blackstrap molasses. 
  • Salt: If you are using Morton Kosher salt or fine sea salt, use half as much by volume: 1/2 teaspoon or the same amount by weight. 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (110 g) molasses, see notes
  • 2 sticks (227 g) salted butter (unsalted is fine if it’s all you have), melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons (5 g) cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon (o.25 g) freshly grated or pre-ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt, see notes
  • 3 cups (384 g) all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place the sugar, brown sugar, and molasses in a large bowl. Pour the melted butter over the top and whisk to combine. Add the egg, and whisk again. 
  3. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt, and whisk to incorporate. 
  4. Finally, add the flour and use a spatula to incorporate — the batter will feel more like a thick dough and it will require some elbow grease to incorporate. This is normal. 
  5. Press the dough into an ungreased 9×13-inch glass or metal baking dish.
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 22-24 minutes. The mixture will puff in the oven, but will collapse upon cooling. I like to err on the side of underbaking, and I find these are consistently done at 22-23 minutes. (If you are using a metal pan, start checking even earlier — Julie bakes them for 17-20 minutes, but she is using a larger pan, so her bars are slightly thinner.) Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool for roughly 1 hour before cutting. 
  7. Cut into 24 or 48 pieces. I like to make a 6×4 grid of bars; then cut each of those bars in half to make 48 pieces. 
  8. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days (maybe longer, but chances are these bars will never make it that long.) 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Amerian

Keywords: molasses, brown sugar, butter, nutmeg, ginger