Gingerbread brownies with buttermilk glaze

Gingerbread at Christmas doesn't always have to mean gingerbread cookies. These cakey bars are rich with the deep flavors of traditional gingerbread.

The Runaway Spoon
These bars topped with a sugary glaze are a fun way to share the classically holiday flavors of gingerbread at any party or gathering.

My first introduction to “gingerbread” was the cute crisp gingerbread men cookies decorated with cinnamon candies and white icing we are all so familiar with. Few of those were homemade, and none ever did much for me. So I really never much thought of gingerbread as a favorite part of my holiday season. Those cookies sure are cute, but not much in the flavor department.

But then I discovered, deep, dark, cakey, traditional gingerbread and I was hooked. The warm spices of gingerbread are now a true holiday favorite for me. I love the way gingerbread smells, while the batter is being stirred up and as the gingerbread bakes. The combination of spices and the rich, deep molasses are immediately homey and comforting.

These bars are a fun way to share the classically holiday flavors of gingerbread at any party or gathering. The sweet and tangy buttermilk glaze adds an extra layer of lovely.

Gingerbread brownies with buttermilk glaze
Serves 16

For the brownies:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8- by 8-inch brownie pan with nonstick foil or parchment.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and spices together in a large bowl. Use a fork to combine everything and break up any lumps of brown sugar.
3. In another bowl, combine the eggs, molasses, and melted butter until thoroughly combined. Add to the dry ingredients and stir together until everything is incorporated and there are no dry ingredients visible. The molasses is thick, so this will take a little effort.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and use lightly moistened fingers to press it out to the edges and smooth the top. Bake for 20 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it.
5. Cool the brownies in the pan.

For the glaze:

1-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

While the bars are cooling, whisk together the glaze ingredients, making sure there are no lumps. Spread the glaze over the baked bars and leave to set, at least 15 minutes. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the foil or parchment. Cut into bars.

Related post on The Runaway Spoon: Gingerbread pillows

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