Orange Gingerbread Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting

TGIF!! Don’t you just love Fridays? It’s probably my favorite day of the week because I know it leads up to the nice family-filled weekend. I have subscriptions to and the numerous cookbooks that I own collecting dust. I want to focus on utilizing my cookbook collection that I have stocked up and making recipes from my magazines. I try and keep one or two cookbooks out and use it for the month or so. Plus, I’ll make whatever challenging recipe that I find from my magazines – it’s always fun when I try to plan our meals for the week.

One of my favorite cookbooks that I can’t stop cooking from is Joy the Baker’s.  Her kitchen sink carrot cake, and apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies and a couple others that I’m working on posting on….are all pretty spectacular. I know this dessert sounds something holiday-ish but I am a little late in sharing this scrumptious recipe. We enjoyed these bars with the family during Christmas Eve and they were a perfect seasonal addition. But just because the Christmas holidays are over, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy these easy to prepare orange gingerbread squares. It’s called dessert for a reason, and that’s a year round treat!

Orange Gingerbread Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients: For the Squares: 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 3/4 granulated sugar 2 large eggs 3/4 unsulfured molasses (not blackstrap) 1/4 cup honey 2 teaspoons orange zest 3/4 cup hot water For Cream Cheese Frosting: 1 bar cream cheese bar 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 2 cups powdered sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract pinch of salt Pomegranate Seeds for garnish Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, making sure the rack is in the center of the oven. Grease and flour an 8×8-inch or (9-inch) square baking pan. Set aside. To make the squares, in a large bowl whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl or the bowl of the stand mixer at medium speed, whisk together vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs until thick and pale. Add molasses, honey and orange zest and mix until combined. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture and slowly fold together with a spatula. Add the hot water and mix until combined until batter is smooth and velvety. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan before frosting. While squares cool, prepare frosting. Place cream cheese in the bowl of the stand mixer. Beat the cream cheese for about 1 minute, until is soft and workable. Add the butter and mix until combined on medium-low speed, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the salt, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on low until incorporated. Frost the squares and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds before serving. Cut into squares. Yield: 12 to 16 squares Squares can be refrigerated and be stored for at least 3 days.

Review: Simply scrumptious. One of my favorite holiday desserts that didn’t involve lots of prep time. This would be a perfect addition to a brunch or any family gathering. This would be a sweet Valentine dessert, too!

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