Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

Every December I make a 3-layer gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting that has been a staple of our holiday entertaining. This year, for obvious reasons, we weren’t able to host our annual holiday party. As a result, no cake. Although Scarlett and I did have a very acute craving for gingerbread. I decided that I’d use my blondie/cookie bar recipe as a base for a gingerbread cookie bar. I’d never tried it before but figured if it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. After all, there was no pressure to be a gorgeous dessert for some big holiday event. Instead it was just a treat for the three of us to enjoy for our quiet little holiday.

Well friends, not only were these bars a success, they were a huge hit. My husband declared I’m no longer allowed to make the labour intensive cake any more and had to replace it with these far better tasting and easier to make bars. Nancy, the greatest holiday shortbread cookie maker, who is also friend of my husbands and gifts us with a tin of her mouth melting shortbread each year, hunted my husband for the recipe when we shared a few bars with her. The hosts of The Global Morning Show ate them on-air with glee. As far as experimenting goes, these went from a fingers crossed trial to an instant classic in no time flat. I guess you could say these are my new “it” holiday cookie/bar. If you like gingerbread and easy baking projects, then I hope you give them a try.

Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes: 16 bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons Bourbon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure to leave enough overhang on the sides. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Once smooth, add the brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light. Beat in the molasses. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different additions until incorporated
  • Press the cookie dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. You want the cookie bars to be extra soft, so careful not to overbake. Allow the bars to cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature before frosting. 

Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat softened butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and bourbon. Beat until creamy.

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