Ginger Squares Addiction Warning

What could be so dangerous about an innocent bar cookie?  Bake a batch and you'll see that they disappear in an instant - but that's only if you have any left to serve anyone else.  Ginger lovers rejoice and everyone else, be prepared to be converted, because these are not only dangerously delicious, but they're also more than easy to prepare.  An adaptation of a recipe shared by my dear friend and champion baker Kyra Effren of Dallas, I can pretty much guarantee that these will become your favorite bar cookie overnight. Ginger squares Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cheung, Appetite for Books, Montreal

Additional hints about the recipe:  If you don't have/can't get any crystallized ginger, just leave it out, but it does add an extra ginger punch; if you're an avowed ginger addict, feel free to increase the quantity of it to 1/2 cup.  To make chopping easier, lightly oil your knife blade and don't be tempted to use your mini-chop which will deiver a tough blob of ginger gum that won't disperese easily in the dough.

Now for the recipe:


Makes 24 2-inch bars


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons ground ginger (more if you like)

2 teaspoons baking powder

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 large egg

1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest


2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring

3 tablespoons lemon juice, strained before measuring

One 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan lined with buttered foil

  1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, ground ginger, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
  3. Melt the butter over medium heat and immediately add to the dry ingredients; use a large rubber spatula to stir to a smooth, shiny dough.  Add the egg, crystallized ginger, honey and lemon zest and beat vigorously to make a smooth dough.
  4. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and use the floured palm of your hand to evenly press it over the bottom of the pan.  Don’t be concerned if the dough looks greasy after pressing it onto the pan – the butter will be reabsorbed while baking.
  5. Bake the bars until well risen, firm, and lightly golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. While the bars are baking, use a small rubber spatula to beat the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice together.  Add water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, if it’s too thick to spread.
  7. As soon as the bars are baked, place a cutting board on the pan and use oven mitts to invert the hot bars to the board.  Remove the pan and foil.  Immediately use a small offset spatula to evenly spread the lemon glaze on the bars.  It will set as the bars cool.
  8. Use a ruler and a sharp knife to mark, then cut, 2-inch squares.
  9. Store the squares in a tightly-covered tin or plastic container between sheets of wax paper.