These gluten free gingerbread bars with cream cheese frosting are the PERFECT holiday dessert. They're ultra rich, with the most wonderful soft texture, and the perfect amount of spice. You need to make these for everyone you know.
You guys. Honestly. These frosted gingerbread bars are everything. I was actually a little surprised by how much I loved them. Don't get me wrong, I thought making gingerbread bars and topping them with a classic cream cheese frosting was a brilliant idea 😉 ha. I had no doubt in my mind that this would be a recipe I wanted to share. I just didn't think I'd love it THIS much.
I have to stop myself from making these over and over this holiday season, simply because they are indulgent and we just can't keep eating them. But, if you choose to try one holiday recipe from here, this should be it.
Unlike my gingerbread loaf, which was more dense, these gluten free gingerbread bars are almost like blonde brownies in texture. They are chewy but soft and moist at the same time. Does that even make sense? Guess you'll just have to try them to see for yourself!
For decoration, you can stop at the frosting alone or add some festive holiday sprinkles. I opted for these cute mini gingerbread men, which are actually not edible! They're mini ornaments I found at a craft store. How fun is that? Just make sure your guests know to remove them before eating.. LOL. Also, if you wanted to, you could make your own (edible) mini gingerbread men for decoration.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- If you're a gingerbread lover, then you already know (and should try my gingerbread cheesecake, too). I've included just the right amount of spice in these bars, so it's not overpowering by any means. Yet they still taste like Christmas!
- That cream cheese frosting. Trust me when I tell you, this is the perfect frosting to pair with these bars. Somehow all of the flavors just balance each other out perfectly.
- It's honestly such an easy recipe, and perfect for taking to a holiday party or potluck.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Gluten free flour: My favorite gluten free flour blend is Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 flour. If you're using a different blend, make sure it contains xanthan gum. You should also be able to use AP flour if you are not following a gluten free diet.
- Brown sugar: You can use either light or dark brown sugar in this recipe.
- Molasses: Be sure to use unsulphured molasses. I like Wholesome Sweeteners or Grandma's brands.
- Greek yogurt: I love using Greek yogurt both as an egg substitute and to add moisture. I typically use either 0% or 2%.
- Cream cheese: Make sure you are using full-fat blocks of cream cheese, not the spreadable kind that comes in a tub.
Tips For Cutting Perfect Bars
I know cutting perfect brownies and bars can be challenging sometimes, even more so when you're working with frosted bars like these. That's why I always, ALWAYS line my square baking pans with parchment paper AND I try to always have a little bit of overhang.
When the bars are cooled enough to remove from the pan, I will lift the whole thing out with the parchment paper. Then I will spread my frosting on top, chill in the refrigerator for just a little bit so that the frosting sets, and then remove from the refrigerator and slice up into even squares.
I always like to trim around the edges, to remove any imperfections (I still save those scraps and snack on them, though!). When cutting frosted bars, like these, I always stop to wipe down my knife between each slice. Not entirely necessary, but it definitely makes for a neater presentation.
Step by Step Instructions
STEP ONE: start by adding your flour, spices, baking soda, and salt to a bowl.
STEP TWO: Then, set that aside and use a mixer to cream the softened butter with the brown sugar. I love using brown sugar in this recipe for its deep flavor and added moisture!
STEP THREE: Once the butter and sugar is nice and smooth, add the molasses, Greek yogurt, and vanilla and beat until combined.
STEP FOUR: Stream in your dry ingredients while mixing on low speed.
Didn't I tell you it was going to be easy? Pour the batter into a square baking pan lined with parchment paper. Make sure you have a little bit of overhang -- it's much easier to pull the whole thing out and slice up into bars later. Bake on 350ºF for about 15 minutes. Allow your gluten free gingerbread squares to cool completely in the pan before frosting.
To make my classic cream cheese frosting, start by beating room temperature cream cheese and butter until it's nice and creamy. Add in your sifted powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue to beat until it's all smooth and combined.
- As always, my top baking tip is to use a scale to weigh your flour if at all possible. This is the best way to ensure accuracy, and too much (or even too little) flour will make a big difference in this recipe.
- The suggested bake time is 15-18 minutes, but I recommend checking in around the 15 minute mark, because all ovens are different. If you can, use an oven thermometer.
- Once baked, you might want to pop the whole thing into the refrigerator after frosting for just a little bit, to help the cream cheese frosting set slightly. This will make slicing up your bars so much easier and cleaner.
Did you make my gluten free gingerbread bars? Leave me a comment below and tag me on Instagram @justastyblog and #justastastyblog!
Frosted Gingerbread Bars
For the gingerbread bars:
- 1 ⅔ cups (246g) gluten free flour blend
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter room temperature
- ⅔ cup (134g) brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup (60ml) unsulphured molasses
- ¼ cup (56g) Greek yogurt room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (180g) powdered sugar sifted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the gingerbread bars:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9" square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the brown sugar until smooth. Add the molasses, yogurt, and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting and slicing into bars.
To make the cream cheese frosting:
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat to combine.