The Sweet Spice

The other day I had a craving for something sweet and spicy. I opted to cater to that craving by putting together some chocolatey bars that are brimming with the flavor of ginger, in this case, both powdered and crystallized ginger. While I was preparing to sprinkle crystallized ginger over my warm bars, our youngster wandered by and wanted to try some. Being adventurous and a little devious, I handed her a piece, which she promptly popped into her mouth. Moments later, she yelped, "Water!" and rushed to the refrigerator. Needless to say, you might want to be a little cautious about assuming these will be a hit with youngsters. That said, the adults roosting in my nest are both quite happy with them:

The combination of a simple ginger cookie crust and a decadent chocolate topping that's been sprinkled with crystallized ginger makes for one lovely dessert. It would be easy to pair this with any number of fortified wines or whiskey for an after-dinner course or with hot coffee for a mid-morning pick-me-up. Either way, you'll feel just a little spoiled.

Make sure you use fresh powdered and crystallized ginger or you might be disappointed with the results. Fresh ginger carries more flavor and that's just what you should be looking for in this tasty treat! I might take a crack at making a citrus version of these in summer, but for now, while the weather tries to figure out what to dump on us next, I'm enjoying the extra kick that ginger brings to the table.

Ginger Chocolate Bars

Cookie Crust:
  • 2 ½ c. flour
  • 1 T. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • ½ c. canola oil
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 T. plain yogurt
  • 1-2 T. milk
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. half and half
  • Crystallized ginger

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Sift together the flour, ginger, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Cream together the butter, oil, and sugar for about 5 minutes. The mixture should be light in color. Gradually add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture. Add the plain yogurt and mix again. Add just enough milk to help bring the dough together (one smooth, cohesive ball). Press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

For the topping, microwave the chocolate chips, butter, and half and half to melt them. Stir to form a thick ganache. Pour the ganache onto the still warm ginger cookie base. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger. Let sit for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate layer is firm. Cut into small squares

  • Yields: 20 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes