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Chocolate-Gingerbread Bars

With Christmas just around the corner, I’m definitely getting in the holiday baking spirit! I’ve been itching to bake with the traditional flavors of the season: gingerbread, cinnamon, chocolate/mint, and cranberry, to name a few. However, I’m watching my waistline, so I typically don’t bake unless I’m going to be meeting up with a group, and can give most of the treats away. Because if I have delicious sweets in the house, I will eat them all! Luckily, I met up with a group of food blogger friends the other night for dinner, which provided me the perfect excuse to bake + share these Chocolate-Gingerbread Bars.

So, how did they taste? Awesome! These bars are a perfect hybrid between gingerbread and a brownie. Sometimes traditional gingerbread can be a bit too intensely spiced for me, but in these bars, the spice is wonderfully balanced my the richness and sweetness of the chocolate. And the texture is fantastic – dense enough to feel a bit decadent, but with some of the lightness/airiness of traditional gingerbread. These are scrumptious as an afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of tea, or a late-night sweet with a mug of hot cocoa. And SO perfect as a holiday treat – hope y’all try ’em!

Chocolate Gingerbread Bars

makes 16 bars, adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with a strip of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper. Dust paper and sides of pan with cocoa; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, ginger, pumpkin-pie spice, and baking soda; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, molasses, egg, and sour cream until smooth. Add flour mixture; stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Stir in chocolate chips. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely. Using paper overhang, lift gingerbread from pan. Transfer to a cutting board, and cut into 16 squares. Before serving, dust bars with confectioners sugar, if desired.