This is the second year that I have participated in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. The swap works like this: I mail homemade cookies (a dozen each) to three other food bloggers, and I receive three dozen cookies made from three different bloggers. The cookie swap is a fun way to get to know other bloggers, share sweet treats, and also (most importantly!) raise money for the Cookies For Kids’ Cancer organization. A fundraiser with cookies! Mmmmmmm!
The tricky thing about making cookies that have to be mailed is that the recipe needs to be one that will hold up well and still taste delicious several days after it’s made. I’ll be honest, I’m usually all about freshly made baked goods. If I’m baking something to share, I typically make it the day that I’m serving it, because that’s when most baked goods taste best. After seeing a recipe for Iced Hermits that said “these bars are best a day or two after they are baked so the flavors have a chance to deepen,” I knew these bars would be perfect for the cookie swap.
I made several changes to the original recipe, and I am so happy with the way they came out. I’ve made this recipe several times over the last few weeks, and everyone I have shared them with has enjoyed them. The bars are the perfect balance of sweet and spice. They’re super chewy and closely resemble a ginger-molasses cookie. The bars get even better with a generous drizzle of brown sugar icing. They are really, really, tasty.
It took some will power to make these bars and mail them, when what I really wanted to do was devour them all myself (ha!). Fortunately, I had some yummy treats arrive to satisfy my sweet tooth. Thanks to: Julia at Sprinkled with Jules for Brown Butter Toffee Cookies, Sarah from Frankly Entertaining for Cranberry Lime Thumbprints, and First Time Foods for the Toffee Pecan Shortbread Cookies.
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ tablespoons ground ginger
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1¼ cups brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup sulfured molasses
- ¾ cup raisins
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 10x15 inch rimmed baking sheet/jelly roll pan with parchment paper, and grease the pan and parchment. Alternately, you can line the pan with foil, leaving a couple inches overhang on two sides (this will allow you to lift the whole tray of bars from the pan). Grease the foil and pan, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt until combined.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for several minutes, until smooth and creamy. Add egg, egg yolk, and molasses, and beat to combine, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Fold in the raisins.
- Spread the dough evenly onto prepared baking sheet. The dough will be thick. Lightly dampen your fingers with water, if needed, to help press the dough evenly into the pan.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the cooking time. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Place brown sugar, milk, and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved (several minutes). Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and powdered sugar. If the icing is too thin, whisk in a little more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add a little more milk.
- Drizzle the bars with icing. Allow the icing to set (at least 15 minutes), then cut.