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Ginger-Cream Bars. I think I am in love. Totally, fully, and completely in love. So much so, that the first three bars of this that I cut . . . somehow disappeared. I am not confessing anything here.
But seeing as how I live totally by myself, there is nobody else to blame. I did it. I ate them. I am a really naughty puppy.
What you are looking at here is a cake type of bar very reminiscent of a ginger bread. Moist and filled with spice and molasses,
With plenty of cinnamon and ginger and cloves. But that’s not where the pleasure ends.
Top that moist, dark and delicious cake with a lush creamy icing. A cream cheese icing. Rich and indulgent.
But the pleasure doesn’t end there. Nope. There is more deliciousness to be found.
The next bit is purely optional of course. But . . . I have chosen to top that lush cream cheese frosting with little bits of candied ginger root and toasted walnuts . . .
Yep, scattered all over the top. Of course they could be let out completely, but why . . . if you have them to use . . . why not use them!
The original recipe comes from a cookbook by Taste of Home called Grandmother’s Favorite Recipes, and is attributed to a gal named Carol Nagelkirk from Holland Michigan.
The photograph in the book looked so tasty, I was instantly wanting to bake these. But, and this is a big but (also butt) when you live on your own. It said it made 5 dozen bars. 5 DOZEN BARS!
I really wanted to bake these but I wasn’t wanting that many bars hanging around my house. I did what I always do. I cut the recipe in half.
It worked out really well, but I have to say that I think the idea that it makes 5 dozen bars to be a bit of a stretch.
The full recipe was supposed to bake in a 10 by 13 by 1 inch pan. Must be really small bars if you can get 60 bars out of that!
Ummm . . . I don’t think so. There is far too much batter for a pan that size methinks anyways. Maybe a pan twice that size.
I have a sheet pan that is half that size and when I halved the recipe, it was clear to me that that pan wasn’t going to be deep enough and so I baked it in an 8-inch square pan. There is no way the full recipe would bake in a 10 by 13 pan with 1-inch sides. That has to be a misprint.
Never mind, it worked well half sized in my 8-inch square pan, but there is no way you would get 2 1/2 dozen bars from it. At best you would get a dozen.
I would also say that it is not a bar like a cookie bar, but more like a cake. Even the photograph in the book likes like a cake rather than a cookie. Who cares a rose by any other name.
I did cut the amount of cloves called for in the recipe way way back. Half the amount called for in the recipe would be 1/2 tablespoon. I cannot imagine 1/2 tablespoon of cloves in this.
I can’t imagine a full tablespoon of ground cloves in the full sized recipe either. It would be inedible in my opinion.
Even cutting it back to 1/2 teaspoon for this sized pan I had my doubts. Having tasted them I would say without a doubt any more than that and it would be cloves overkill.
You would have to be madly passionate about cloves as in that quantity, they would kill every other flavor in the cake. 1/2 teaspoon is close to being too much. Just this side of too much.
One thing which really intrigued me however was the use of hot coffee in the batter. Yep, hot coffee. Although I don’t drink tea or coffee for religious reasons, I do keep a jar of coffee in my cupboard for visitors, who do drink it.
I am not at all opposed to cooking with it. I quite like the flavor of coffee in baked goods, and the Coffee Crisp is one of my favorite chocolate bars. When I lived in the UK my sister and middle son would periodically send me over some bite sized ones.
And I confess, I quite like the green wrapped coffee chocolates in the Cadbury’s Roses tin at Christmas. Sigh . . . I will miss Cadbury’s Roses . . .
You cannot taste the coffee in this cake. There is no flavor of it. It is probably spiced out by all of the cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
Having said that, you could probably get away with just using hot water or even hot tea. But again, I think the idea of hot is just to get the soda working, so water would work well.
And I don’t mean to sound like I am tearing the recipe apart, I really don’t. I am in love with these bars right! They are totally delicious.
I am only trying to advise you on changes you should make for success. Changes that I made. Changes that work well. Don’t worry I wrote the recipe with the changes.
They work so well that I inhaled three pieces as soon as I cut into it. That speaks for itself, or should do.
I do love ginger flavored anything though. I am a card carrying ginger-holic.
I adore Gin Gins. Have you ever had them? They are little hard candies that are super gingery. Great for when you have an upset stomach.
I used to get them in the UK and thought I would never find them here in Nova Scotia, but wonder of all wonders! I did find a bag last week when I was in Winners! Yay!
I scooped it up. Needless to say I will be rationing them. My friend Jacquie brought me two little bags of Chimes Ginger Chews the other day. Cue in floating hearts. Yes, I am a ginger fanatic!
Which reminds me I promised my dad I would bake him some molasses cookies a few weeks ago and I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Must put that on my “to do” list for very soon.
Can you see the beautiful cake-like texture of these bars? I hope so. Incredibly moist and delicious.
That frosting is its crowning glory. It cuts the spiciness down a notch with a creamy finish. There is a perfect balance of spice and cool creaminess here.
So you get a nice burst of spice in the bars, but tempered with that lush, rich cream cheese frosting. The two work together beautifully I have to say.
It was suggested you top these with some chopped walnuts. As I always say, toast your nuts, but why not add a bit more ginger-spice with some chopped candied ginger?
Why not indeed! Worked really well with the chopped toasted nuts and made for the perfect finish. Oh . . . and that mug? My mom loved Ginger also, especially Ginger cats. I had given her this mug one year for her Birthday. My sister gifted it back to me.
I thought to myself, ginger bread bars, a ginger cat mug. The perfect combination! I am so excited. I will soon have a ginger cat all of my own. I can’t wait!
(On a side note, I do apologise for the haphazardness of this post. It has taken me three hours to get things the pictures etc. to work today. Very frustrating, but I got there in the end! Some days are just like that!)
Ginger-Cream Bars (small batch)
Yield: one dozen cake type bars
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 35 MinTotal time: 45 Min
This is an old time favorite, down-sized from its original to make 12 perfect bars. Spicy, moist, gingery delicious and topped with a lush cream cheese frosting. Perfect with a hot cuppa.
For the cake part:
1/2 cup (60g) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (95g) granulated sugar
1 cup (140g) plain all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 large free range egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup (60ml) molasses
1/2 cup (120ml) hot coffee
For the frosting:
1/4 cup (60g) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 ounces full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (130g) icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
chopped candied ginger and toasted walnuts to garnish
Preheat the oven to 350*F/180*C/gas mark 4. Butter an 8-inch square baking tin and line with baking paper. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whisk together the flour, soda, spices and salt. Add to the creamed mixture and then beat in the egg. Beat in the molasses and the whisk in the hot coffee. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until risen and the top springs back when lightly touched. Leave to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then lift out to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
To make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese together to combine and then beat in the sugar and the vanilla until thick, creamy and smooth. Spread over the cooled cake.
Sprinkle with chopped nuts and candied ginger and cut into bars to serve.
This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com
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