How to Make Nana's [FAMOUS] Molasses Bars
Thanks to a few friends of mine, these bars are now (jokingly) "famous" at a few of their offices up the east coast. I've loved this recipe since I was a little girl and my grandmother would make these while I was at school. I remember being so excited when I saw her sprinkle on the powdered sugar after they were cooled. I knew they looked like brownies, but they were SO MUCH MORE.
A lot of people have asked me for this recipe over the years, and I give it out all of the time. When I ask if they tried to make them, I often hear the same reply. "They weren't as good as yours." While admit I put a significant amount of love and nostalgia into my batches...I continue to deny that I have any extraordinary talent which would make them better than anyone else's attempts. I do, however, have a few tricks that might be the reason mine turn out differently.
- 3 Sticks Unsalted Butter
- 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Molasses
- 2 Large Eggs
- 3 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (bleached or unbleached)
- 1 teaspoon Ginger
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Cloves
- 1 teaspoon of Salt
- 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
Preheat Oven to 350°. Grease a 9x13 glass pan with butter--I just use any partial stick of butter I have on hand and rub it all over the bottom and sides.
Melt three sticks of butter slowly in the microwave. I use a large glass bowl. Do 20-30 seconds at a time at first--especially if butter is straight out of the fridge. Otherwise, little/large splatter explosions can occur, and these are a pain in the neck to clean up.
Add sugar and whisk together until uniformly combined. ***DO NOT USE AN ELECTRIC MIXER FOR THIS RECIPE*** Electric mixers do something weird to the texture of the finished bars. Add molasses and whisk in until uniformly combined. In a small separate bowl, beat the eggs for about 10 seconds or so with a fork. Check that the Sugar mixture is cooled. You do not want to add eggs into a hot bowl. They will curdle, and you will be sad.
Mix all dry ingredients together in a separate medium sized bowl.
[At this point I...occasionally...will suddenly discover I am out of a key ingredient--like flour--and will then frantically send my husband to the nearest grocery store to retrieve it. Feel free to skip this particular step as I don't feel like it adds much to the end result and it can cause some degree of spousal irritation. If this happens to you, allow said spouse first sampling rights to fix any lingering annoyance.]
Whisk dry ingredients into the wet ones, adding small amounts at a time. I use a whisk as long as I can, and then I switch to a wooden spoon. Use a rubber scraper to dump into the glass pan and make the batter mostly level.
Bake approximately 45 minutes. I usually start testing at 40 minutes because my current oven runs a little hot. Do not over-bake. Take the pan out as soon as the bars "test done."
Let the pan almost completely cool. Slice into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes about 36 small square bars. Enjoy!