Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ginger-Lemon Bars...

Fresh ginger, ground ginger and crystallized ginger - you'll always find these three lurking somewhere in our house, be it in the freezer, the pantry or spice drawer. We're crazy about its zippy bite, used either in savory or sweet dishes - most especially though in that addictive Gingerbread Popcorn. For this week's Wednesday Treat Day, two of those ingredients found a home into these Ginger-Lemon Bars I made today.

The whole process of making these bars is rather intriguing and on the bonus side, you don't even have to haul out the mixer if you don't like (I didn't!). The dough can be prepared using one bowl and a sturdy wooden spoon. Rather than using the traditional method of creaming together softened butter and sugar, you'll be combining all of the dry ingredients (flour, granulated sugar, two full tablespoons of aromatic ground ginger and a bit of baking powder) together, then mixing in a couple sticks worth of melted butter. Once that golden slick is worked in, an egg, a generous scoop of finely chopped crystallized ginger, sticky honey and tiny bits of brilliant lemon zest complete

Kind of an odd order, but it does come together! Do note that once you start patting the dough into the pan, you'll start to notice glistening butter oozing out - this is to be expected and will not be a problem. Rest assured, the butter will reabsorb as the bars bake. When the top is golden, the sheet of dough is firm to the touch and your nose perks up as the distinct ginger-y scent seeps from the oven, it's time to pull the pan out from the oven.

Be prepared to work with these right away as they get their shiny, tart topping not when they have cooled, but when they are pipping hot fresh out of the oven! Being very careful, you'll be turning the flat of bars out onto a board, then smearing on a thick, yet runny, glaze made from confectioners' sugar and enough fresh lemon juice to thin. If you are at all worried about the bars sticking, feel free to line the baking pan with parchment paper or foil (and of course, coating with either nonstick spray or butter).

These scream to be stacked on a holiday cookie platter - Jeff said they are a strong contender to make the list for our annual Holiday Baking Spree! I think the best way to describe these bars is that they are like a cross between shortbread and thin ginger blondie (minus the brown sugar, of course) - dense and chewy, with this addictive light crispness to them that got my attention. The ginger is definitely up front and center, but both the lemon and the added sweetness balance its spicy, sharp bite. As I mentioned, the bars can be stacked when serving as the icing sets to a firm shell - however, if you are storing them for a length of time stacked, lay sheets of parchment or wax paper between the layers to separate them.


  1. I am a big fan of ginger, and with a lemon topping, these just sound fantastic. I love that the icing is quite thin becasue I am not a big fan of lots of frosting/icing. I have just added the gingers to my shopping list.

  2. I cannot wait to try these! Ginger and citrus together rocks...love ginger lemonade, for example, and the texture of these looks similar to your vintage butterscotch bars, which I also tried and loved. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. These look stunning! Love your blog!

  4. Ginger anything is pretty much a winner in our household. These, I'm certain will be a winner as well. I've been out of the kitchen for a few weeks, and recipes like these make me want to run in and get to baking!!

  5. Ooh! I wish my kids were staying longer! I would make these today!! Right now we're sitting in a coffee shop using free wi-fi... we're without internet for our second day now due to a big storm.
    Did I tell you I made your s'mores cookies? They were GREAT. Thanks!

  6. ATLATC - Yeah, especially with these, you don't want the frosting to overwhelm the bars.

    Sharon - I can't drink it anymore, but I love ginger lemonade too!

    Donna - Thanks!

    Kim - I love snacking on the crystallized stuff!

    BB - We lost power the other day for several hours too. Thankfully I wasn't in the middle of making anything. I'm glad to hear you made the S'mores cookies!

  7. Beautiful bars! I am gonna try these! Yummmmy.