For a truly special dessert that celebrates the season, bake a batch of these bars. The bottom layer tastes like a cookie, the middle layer features smooth buttercream and the top layer is a luscious frosting. —Patti Ann Christian, Ararat, North Carolina
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/8 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- BUTTERCREAM LAYER:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
- Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour, ginger, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves; add to creamed mixture. Pour into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine sugar and flour. Whisk in milk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Transfer to a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
- Beat in butter and extract until light and fluffy. Spread over cooled gingerbread. Cover and freeze 15 minutes.
- For icing, in a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, cream and butter; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; whisk in molasses, allspice, ginger and salt. Transfer to a large bowl; add confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Spread over buttercream layer. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 3 dozen.
Originally published as Layered Gingerbread Bars in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2011, p95
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