Confession #101: I Lose Things… Molasses Bars with Graham Cracker Crust

by alexandra

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Remember the Homemade Graham Crackers I made a while ago?

Well, I stashed some in the freezer since I made so many, because I can’t stand cookies getting old. Or at least, I thought I did…. When I tried to find them later, I couldn’t, and I finally decided it must have been my imagination. Fast forward to a few months later, and there at the top of the freezer is a container of graham crackers. Nice.

Molasses Bars with Graham Cracker Crust

Is anyone else’s freezer like a chest of hidden treasures stored in unidentifiable containers? I seriously never know what I’ll pull out next.

Molasses Bars with Graham Cracker Crust

This happens to me a lot, actually. I make something, I have a little bit of an ingredient leftover, like almond meal or chocolate ganache or graham cracker crumbs (from this recipe), and I stick it in the fridge, only to forget about it right away. Is it a great system? Nope. Do I keep doing it? Yup. I think graham crackers are one of the best surprises I’ve found in my fridge/freezer, though, and these Molasses Bars were a pretty awesome way to make use of them.

Molasses Bars with Graham Cracker Crust

These bars are tender and moist and dominated by a rich, sweet molasses flavor. The graham cracker base works perfectly with that flavor and adds a little something special to what would be very simple bars. The cinnamon sugar-topped graham crackers I made were incredibly good in these bars, but I also tried the recipe with leftover chocolate graham crackers from this recipe, and the note of chocolate flavor was a great addition as well. Once baked, the bars around the outer part of the pan come out a little more cakey, while the bars in the inner part stay a little more dense and  fudgy – in a molasses way, you know? It’s like the best of both worlds, where everyone gets what they want. My favorite is the inner part!

Molasses Bars with Graham Cracker Crust

I really think you guys will be gobbling these up, because two batches disappeared in the blink of an eye at my house! But before I leave you with the recipe, there’s two more things you MUST know:

1) These are incredibly easy to make, and use only one bowl.

2) Try these as soon as they’ve cooled from the oven – HEAVEN!

Molasses Bars with Graham Cracker Crust

Cook Time: 40 minutes

one 8-inch pan, or 16 (2-inch square) bars

Molasses Bars with Graham Cracker Crust

Spiced Molasses Bars with a soft Graham Cracker crust - slightly gooey in the middle, these bars have a rich depth of flavors that will keep you coming back for more!

Ingredients

  • butter, for greasing baking dish
  • Graham Cracker Crust
  • 5 7/8 ounces graham cracker crumbs (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 packed tablespoon brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted (4 tablespoons)
  • Molasses "Filling"
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted (4 tablespoons)
  • 1 3/4 ounces granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 1 7/8 ounces brown sugar (1/4 cup, packed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons molasses*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 1/4 ounces all-purpose flour (1 cup, spoon and sweep)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter an 8" square baking dish.
  2. Prepare the Graham Cracker Crust:
  3. Whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add melted butter and stir in until the crumbly mixture is evenly moist.
  4. Use a large, flat spatula to firmly press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, creating a flat, compact base layer. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes while you make the molasses filling. Keep the oven at 350° F in preparation for baking the bars with the filling.
  5. Prepare the Molasses Filling:
  6. In the same large bowl as previously used, whisk together the melted butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well between each addition. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and fold into the mixture until just combined and smooth.
  7. Pour the molasses batter over the slightly cooled graham cracker crust in an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the very center of the bars comes out looking clean.**
  8. Allow the bars to cool, and then dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve. These bars are phenomenal the first day they're baked, but to keep them tasting their best in the following days, I recommend storing them in an airtight container, at room temperature if possible.

Notes

*I used blackstrap molasses, which is as dark and bitter as you can get in the molasses department, and it works perfectly here without overpowering the sweetness and flavor in the bars. You can use whatever kind of molasses you like/have on hand, but be aware that light molasses will have less of a flavor impact.

**Don't be tempted to overbake the bars! The toothpick tester might feel a little moist, but if there aren't any crumbs stuck to it, the bars are done.

http://www.brighteyedbaker.com/2013/01/06/confession-101-i-lose-things-molasses-bars-with-graham-cracker-crust/

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Averie Cooks January 6, 2013

They look amazing – graham, molasses, the whole thing looks amazing. And yes, my freezer is also a treasure chest of white old cool whip containers & tupperware filled with surprises ;)

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alexandra January 9, 2013

Thanks! And thank goodness I’m not the only one… right now we have at least 3 “sour cream” containers in the fridge with various kinds of cookie dough, plus an actually container of sour cream. Hah!

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Laura Dembowski January 7, 2013

Those look wonderful! So moist and rich. My freezer is stuffed with baked goods. It is literally like stuff something in, slam the door, and run, or it will all come tumbling out. Sometimes I find something I’ve forgotten about and it is so exciting.
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alexandra January 9, 2013

Thanks!And your freezer sounds something like mine.:) It seriously is like crossing your fingers every time you try to fit one more thing in there! And then arranging and rearranging just to get the door closed… aah!

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) January 7, 2013

Love the flavors in these bars!
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Erika January 8, 2013

Haha I love it!! Storing things in the fridge and being surprised later by forgotten items is the story of my life. Currently in my fridge I have: leftover lemon curd, chocolate crumbles and a half-eaten pan of quinoa cornbread. And god knows what else. These molasses bars sound totally heavenly!!
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alexandra January 9, 2013

I’m smiling reading about everyone’s packed fridges/freezers full of mystery items and all these little food leftovers. That’s exactly how it is for me! But what can you do, really? We can’t just throw away chocoalte crumbles, right?!
And these bars… sooo good! :)

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Sandra March 1, 2013

These bars look amazing! You can tell that the cooking shows are less than realistic when they whip open the frig or freezer door and place large sheet pans of whatever in an almost empty frig or freezer. There is never rearranging of foodstuffs or falling out of grape Popsicles and small containers of tomato paste and frozen ginger chunks in ziploc bags. :-)

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alexandra March 3, 2013

Thanks! So true; it’s like a hunt to find a spot to put anything in my fridge/freezer, not to mention a precarious balancing act!

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Aya @sukarah April 23, 2013

these look truly scrumptious! i always “lose” stuff in my freezer. i always wonder what new item i’l discover whenever am doing a cleanup. my life is very exciting as you can see :)
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alexandra April 24, 2013

That’s basically my life too, so I guess both of our lives are pretty exciting, right?!

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