Feel the Burn: Lemon Ginger Bars

The headnote to Nick Malgieri's recipe for Lemon Ginger Bars in Bake! says that the bars "are about as gingery as you can get, so consider yourself forewarned if you're not a ginger lover." Fortunately, I am in the ginger loving camp! The photo of the bars in the cookbook reminded me a bit of David Lebovitz's delicious Ginger Crunch, and I was hoping that Malgieri's bars would be as tasty.

This is a very easy recipe. You mix together flour, sugar, ground ginger, and baking powder; stir in hot melted butter; add an egg, crystallized ginger, honey, and lemon zest; press the resulting dough into a lined pan; and bake until golden.

While the bars are in the oven, you make a glaze by mixing together lemon juice and powdered sugar. The recipe instructs you to unmold the crust right after taking the pan out of the oven, and then to immediately spread on the lemon glaze, which sets into a firm, shiny icing.

I'm not sure why the recipe instructs you to unmold the bars while they are still hot; it would have been easy to use an offset spatula to spread on the glaze while the crust was still in the pan. In fact, when I inverted the pan to release the crust, a portion of the crust broke off. Fortunately, the break was a nice straight line that created an even strip two-inches wide -- basically exactly where I would have cut the bars anyway.

I love these bars. Nick Malgieri was not kidding, they were super gingery and had a lot of heat. I particularly loved the bits of crystallized ginger in the tender and buttery crust. I thought there was a bit of burn from the ginger, but I really enjoyed the spiciness. The ginger definitely dominated the lemon flavor, which seemed like more of an afterthought -- but it was an interesting and tasty afterthought. These bars are assertive, addictive, and, as Malgieri says, dangerously delicious!

Recipe: "Lemon Ginger Bars" from Bake! by Nick Malgieri.

Previous Post: "From the Land Down Under: Ginger Crunch," January 22, 2013.