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Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars

Posted Nov 07 2013 5:05am

Goodbye pumpkin, hello gingerbread and molasses.

I love these flavors so much and am so excited to be baking with them. Actually, I bake with them all year, but it’s safe to blog about them now.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Last week I started a  Gingerbread & Molasses  pinterest board in preparation for all the ginger and molasses recipes I know I’ll see online and want to remember. Food blogs are so predictable this time of year. First pumpkin, then ginger and molasses, then mint. I hope we linger in this phase for awhile.

My new board inspired me make something to kick off ginger and molasses season.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

These bars are my heaven. They’re dense to the point of being almost like molasses fudge, with an abundance of chocolate chips that melt, making them even closer to fudge.

If you’re looking for a traditional, soft and fluffy ginger or molasses cake, or traditional cakey gingerbread cookies that you’d decorate, these bars are not that. There’s no chemical leaveners in them because I wanted them to stay flat and dense. Back to that fudge factor.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

They follow the pattern of my  trusty   blondies   recipesand are made  in  one-bowlno mixer required , and  the batter  is  whisked together   in minutes  before being turned out into a pan and baked.

Simple melt one stick of butter in a bowl in the micro, stir in an egg, brown sugar, molasses, 3 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon each of cloves and nutmeg.

That’s 7 teaspoons of spices for a small pan of bars, and the bars definitely have a zippy kick. Not overwhelming for me personally, but they’re bold. There’s nothing more disappointing than lackluster-spiced pumpkin, ginger, or molasses-based recipes so I use a heavy hand. If you don’t like bold flavors, dial the spices back, possibly even halving them.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

I recommend using a light to medium  molasses  so the bars don’t taste bitter or too pungent, a likely result if you use blackstrap molasses.

After stirring in the flour, add 1/1 4 cups chocolate chips, turn batter out into the pan, and top with 1/4 cup additional. I always place a few chocolate chipswhite chocolate chips  or  candy   pieces  on top of my cookies and bars. It adds a visual pop to your treats so they really glisten and shine.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Bake the bars until they’re done. For me, that was 32 minutes. Because ingredients, climates, and taste preferences vary, always bake things until they’re done in your oven and to your taste. It’ll be a little tricky testing with a toothpick because you’ll keep hitting melted chocolate patches. There are worse things.

If you prefer more well-done, drier, bars, bake longer. Easy enough, but I can’t tell you how many people write to me, ‘But I baked it for exactly as long as you said and it wasn’t done’. Okay, then bake a little longer. Maybe you live in a humid climate or your oven runs 25 degrees cooler or you like drier food than I do. I’m an admitted under-baking queen.

I let the bars cool overnight. It makes cutting them much easier because the chocolate fully sets, they’re not as gooey, and they have a chance to rest, and for the flavors to marry. Ginger and molasses treats really do taste better in the few days after baking them.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

The thick molasses, the softening and tenderizing effects of the brown sugar, coupled with the chocolate that melts and then sets up, they’re like eating a piece of dense, rich, molasses fudge with bold spices. The chocolate stands up beautifully to the boldness of the molasses and spices and is a wonderful pairing.

If you’re the type of person who frequently utters statements like, ‘Oh that’s too strong’, or ‘That’s so spicy’ or ‘Wow, that’s too rich’, don’t make these. They’re not going to be your thing.

However, if you’re a person who has to at least  double the cinnamon  in most recipes and you’re a real fan of molasses, coupled with a love of chocolate and  fudgy things , they’ll be your thing. They’re definitely mine.

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars - Dense, rich and like eating a piece of molasses fudge. Easy no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip Bars

Yield: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 generous squares

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: about 32 to 34 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour+, to allow for cooling

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulphered light or medium molasses   (not blackstrap, it's too pungent)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch salt, optional to taste
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don't scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, optional salt, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the flour and stir until just combined, don't overmix.
  5. Stir in 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  7. Evenly sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the top, pressing them down very lightly with a spatula.
  8. Bake for about 32 to 34 minutes, or until done. I prefer them very moist, soft, and fudge-like, and baked for 32 minutes (shown in photos). If you prefer more well-done, dryer bars, bake for a few minutes longer; noting baking times may vary widely with this recipe based on personal preferences. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter; however, it will be hard to find a clean patch to test because you'll likely hit chocolate. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 to 60 minutes before slicing and serving; I prefer to let these bars rest overnight so the flavors marry and the chocolate fully sets, at which point they're fudge-like. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Recipe from Averie Cooks . All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.

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What’s your favorite gingerbread or molasses recipe?

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