Cookie Trials 2010 – Lemon Ginger Bars

Lemon Ginger Bar Platter

Holiday Lemon Ginger Bars

Our local newspaper is the Washington Post and every year they have a selection of holiday cookie recipes. The selection was difficult to narrow down to just one for these trials but we decided to go with a flavor that we rarely use during this time of year – Ginger. There were actually two recipes this year with ginger, but I did not have any macadamia nuts in the pantry and was looking for a way to use up some lemons.

So it was resolved that a little lemon-ginger flavor bar to go with all the chocolate would be nice. I had just recently bought some ginger from King Arthur’s that was pre-chopped so that part was going to be easy. Overall the process for making these was very easy. The result was a tasty lemon treat with a hint of ginger and a sweet glaze. The lemon and ginger flavors were very subtle, and the glaze was a perfect accompaniment to the mildly tart flavor. The consistency was similar to cake, but slightly more dense and moist.

For this trial, we were just looking for an alternative cookie bar to the many sugar and chocolate cookie options and these reminded me of lemon bars in the spring and summer that we enjoy. These would be perfect with a hot cup of tea. The one thing missing in the recipe was any decoration for the bars for the holidays. Some green and red sprinkles might brighten them up or golden sugar crystals. Enjoy them if you like tart lemon treats.


2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 tablespoons honey
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (2 teaspoons)
For the glaze
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons; strained before measuring)
Water (optional)

Lemon Ginger Bar Platter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil.

Combine the flour, sugar, ground ginger and baking powder in a medium bowl.

Melt the 16 tablespoons of butter. Immediately add the remaining melted butter to the dry ingredients, using a flexible spatula to blend. Add the egg, crystallized ginger, honey and lemon zest; beat vigorously to make a smooth dough. Scrape it into the baking dish. Use the palm of your hands to press it evenly over the bottom of the pan. Don’t be concerned if the dough looks greasy it just is but the end product is not.

Bake the bars until firm and lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Use a small flexible spatula to mix the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl to form a smooth glaze. If the mixture is too thick, add up to 1/2 teaspoon water.

As soon as the dough has baked, place a cutting board over the baking dish and use oven mitts to invert the hot slab onto the board. Remove the pan and foil and replace with a separate cutting board. Turn right side up and remove the top board.

Immediately brush on the lemon glaze so that it sets as the slab cools. When it is completely cool, cut into 2-inch squares.

Source: Washington Post

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