Raising the bar: Sticky Ginger Squares

Chocolate, it’s time for you to take a break. You’ve been hogging the spotlight for weeks now. Even your biggest fans are becoming a bit jaded. So move to the back of the line, OK?

Gingerrrrrrrrrrrr… come on down!

If ever there’s a time for sweetSPICYhot ginger, in all its myriad incarnations, this is it. The fresh scent of balsam and the prickle of snow on your cheeks, overlaid with warm kitchen aromas of gingerbread cookies and eggnog, signal that the end-of-year holidays are upon us.

And to many of us, that means ginger. Think gingerbread men, and the warm, gingery scent of pumpkin pie. Gingersnaps and soft molasses cookies, gingerbread cake and tender scones studded with chunks of crystallized ginger. Ginger tea. Ginger ale (and its various celebratory add-ins).

Come the holidays, ginger is HOT – in more ways than one.

The following simple bars are a wonderful flavor combo of ginger and brown sugar and butter and spice. Their bottom layer is dense and chewy; the top, tender and crumbly and light. And throughout, wonderfully assertive ginger plays a starring role.

Can you make these bars without crystallized ginger? Well, yeah… but they just won’t be the same, in texture or taste. If you’ve never enjoyed crystallized (candied) ginger, this recipe is the perfect place to start.

Sticky Ginger Squares – take center-stage. It’s your time to shine.

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Our cute ginger mini chips, irregular chips ranging in size from 3/8” down, will be used twice in this recipe: once in the bar itself, and again in the the topping.

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan, or line with parchment and grease the parchment.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup ginger mini chips or diced crystallized ginger

If you’re not using crystallized ginger, increase the ground ginger to 1 tablespoon.

Can you substitute raisins, dried cranberries, cinnamon chips, or 1/2 cup of something else for the crystallized ginger? Sure. It won’t be the same, but who knows, you may invent something you like even better!

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Whisk to combine.

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Combine 1/4 cup molasses, 2 large eggs, 1 1/3 cups brown sugar, and 1/4 cup melted butter.

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Stir till smooth.

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Pour over the dry ingredients in the bowl…

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…and stir till smooth. The ginger chips will give it a lumpy appearance; don’t worry about it.

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Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

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Spread to the edges. Boy, this is an EASY recipe, isn’t it?

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Here we are, ready to go into the oven.

What, no topping? Patience, that’s next.

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Put the squares in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. While they’re baking, make the topping.

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Combine the following:

1 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt; reduce the salt to 1/8 teaspoon if you use salted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar

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Work in the butter till the mixture is unevenly crumbly; some chunks of butter can remain. Stir in 1/2 cup ginger mini chips or diced crystallized ginger.

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Remove the squares from the oven, and sprinkle with the topping. Return to the oven. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, till the topping is a lovely golden brown.

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Remove from the oven; you’ll notice the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan just slightly – this is a sign the bars are done.

Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen them. Allow them to cool.

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Cut into squares: four lengthwise strips, then six crosswise, for a total of 24 squares.

Notice the light/crumbly topping and ultra-dense, chewy bottom layer are just about equal in height; it’s a compelling contrast of textures, with hot-sweet ginger flavor all the way through.

I can definitely see these on Santa’s cookie plate – how about you?

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Sticky Ginger Squares.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Barbara d. Newman

    I hate that you post these delicious looking recipes on Facebook. I think this is a conspiracy to make me gain weight!. I have to make these lovely looking goodies all the time. They are delightful, but my poor wasteline. Seriously, I love your posts. And you always include step-by-step directions.
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Barbara, thanks for your kind words. I’m with you – always a balancing act between what you want, and what’s good for you. Hang in there! Bake, enjoy a bit(e) – then share. 🙂 PJH

  2. Julie

    Thank you! What an amazing recipe! I chopped my crystallized ginger finely and baked the base 14 minutes then an additional 24 minutes with the topping. I pressed slightly on the crumble top, which probably helps to keep the squares together. They came out perfect! This was my test recipe for a parting gift that I’m taking for a friend’s housewarming party next week. Will stack three between small pieces of parchment paper and put in a see-through bag with a bow.

    Reply
  3. Kasey

    If we substitute KA white whole wheat flour will I have to adjust the amount?

    When using white whole wheat for all purpose flour, start with 25% of the white whole wheat for all purpose flour. If you like the taste and texture results – bump the white whole wheat to 50% but don’t go beyond that amount. If so, you’ll need to use a recipe written specifically for whole wheat flour. Irene @ KAF

    Reply

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