Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Caramel Icing

Gingerbread Cookie Bars 2

DAY 10: Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Caramel Icing

Christmas flavors in a bar cookie. With a caramel icing that is to die for!


Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Caramel Icing

Gingerbread Cookie Bars 2

Gingerbread Bars:
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Caramel Cream Cheese Icing:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 Tbs butter, softened
½ cup salted caramel
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup powdered sugar

OPTIONAL: additional Salted Caramel

Gingerbread Bars:

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish, or spray with nonstick baking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugars, and molasses until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Spread dough in prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until center is cooked through. Cool completely.

Caramel Cream Cheese Icing:

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, salted caramel, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Beat in powdered sugar. Spread over cooled Gingerbread Bars.

If desired, drizzle additional salted caramel over the icing when serving bars.

Makes about 24 squares

Salted Caramel

1 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
½ cup heavy cream
½ – 1 tsp flaky or coarse sea salt
1 tsp vanilla (and/or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)

Place sugar in a medium to large saucepan (mixture will bubble up and expand as cool ingredients are added to the hot pan, so use a large pan). Cook over medium heat until sugar just begins to melt. Stir gently, trying to keep sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts completely and is a medium amber color (about 350°F if you use an instant-read thermometer). Reduce heat to low and quickly whisk in butter chunks, stirring constantly.

Stir in cream, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in salt and vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into a glass jar or heat-safe bowl to cool. Do NOT scrape sides or bottom of the pan with a spatula. If you do, you are likely to get sugar crystals into your nice smooth caramel. If the caramel has formed crystals while cooking, you can pour it from the pan through a fine sieve into the jar to remove any crystals before cooling.

Caramel can be kept in a covered jar at room temperature for several weeks.

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Filed under Cookies, Desserts

2 responses to “Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Caramel Icing

  1. Sarah

    Oh I may never make gingerbread cookies again. This is my new favorite. The salted caramel turned out perfect and the whole combo is just delicious. I’ll be making these again soon.


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