These delightfully dense and chewy molasses cookie bars are spiked with jewels of candied ginger and topped with a sweet orange drizzle. Welcome fall with one of these fudgy bars and a cup of chai tea!
Guess whaaaat?? It’s only THREE days until the official start of fall! Can you tell I’m a tad excited about this? That also means that pumpkin everything will be coming to the blog over the next month or so. Seriously. I am milking this thing until at least the end of October. Possibly into November. We’ll see where the baking gods take us!
For now, I’m going to gently ease you into the pumpkin onslaught with these deliciously fudgy molasses cookie bars. If you love molasses and ginger, you’ll adore these bars. If you love soft and chewy cookies, these bars will be your version of heaven. If you’re into one-bowl, easy-peasy baked goods, you’re gonna want to grab a whisk and preheat the oven because these bars are for you!
I’m a huge fan of molasses-based goodies. I wait all year for gingerbread at Christmas, and I often find myself craving the big ginger molasses cookies from Starbucks. (They’re my little slice of Christmas in July.) I feel like molasses doesn’t get as much love as it should. Who else is guilty of shoving that little carton to the back of the baking shelf and not thinking about it until the holidays roll around? That’s me. 100%. However! I’m on a quest to change this, and I’m starting with these Molasses Madness Bars.
Molasses is a highly underrated sweetener. It’s completely natural and free of preservatives, which makes it one of the better-for-you sweeteners available on the market. Not only is it delicious in desserts, cookies, and cakes, but it can also be used in savory dishes to add a sweet, tart kick. If you haven’t tried molasses glazed pork chops, you are missing out! I’m drooling right now thinking about them…
Anyhow, back to these cookie bars. If you’re like me and want to give molasses more love, you should definitely make these. Be warned, the molasses force is strong with these ones. You are going to get a major punch of treacle flavour, but it won’t overpower you, I promise. You’ll like it. They’re also super dense and chewy, which is an absolute MUST for me when it comes to cookie bars. It’s sort of like sinking your teeth into a fudgy molasses brownie when you take a bite. As you continue eating it (because you will), you’ll get strong bursts of ginger from the candied pieces scattered throughout. And if that isn’t enough of an attack on your taste buds, you also get this underlying citrusy freshness from the sweet orange drizzle. So many flavours all working in wonderful, harmonious madness. Hence the name.
Let’s give some extra love to molasses today, shall we? It certainly deserves it.
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup raw cane sugar
- ⅓ cup molasses
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup candied ginger, diced
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and grease and line an 8 x 8 baking tin with non-stick paper. Leave a 1-inch overhang so that it's easier to remove the bars from the pan.
- In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Wait about 2 minutes for the butter to cool before whisking in the egg so that it doesn't scramble. Next, add the sugar, molasses, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Sift in the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and flour and continue whisking until the batter is smooth. Finally, fold in the candied ginger and pour the batter into the prepared baking tin.
- Bake the bars for 22–25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the centre comes out clean. Allow the bars to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Once the bars have cooled, double wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight. This is important. I found the flavours were better enhanced the following day, and it allowed the bars to become extra fudgy. I highly recommend completing this step.
- In a small measuring cup, whisk together the confectioner's sugar and orange juice until smooth. Remove the bars from the refrigerator, unwrap, and drizzle the glaze over the bars in a zig-zag pattern. Cut the bars into 12 equal pieces, and allow the glaze to set before storing.
- These bars will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.