Featured Kitchen School

Back-to-School Cookies

Written by Shannon Frink

Hello all! My name is Kelsey Bair and currently I am a dietetic intern finishing up my internship and preparing to take my Registered Dietitian exam! After completing my internship next week I will be starting at Hy-Vee in Kearney as a Health and Wellness Specialist. Once I pass my boards (fingers crossed for early June!) I will be one of the Registered Dietitians at the Kearney Hy-Vee along with Kaiti George. I am super excited to start my career at such an amazing store! I also look forward to talking more with you all through future blog posts! Anyways, enough about me! You’re here for some tasty food!

 So I know school is getting out but these molasses bars have a special place in my heart and I just had to share this recipe! From the time I started going to school my Mom would make these spiced cookies on my first day of school. Getting home from a stressful first day and smelling these delicious cookies always made everything better. Not only that but my Mom would take the time to talk with me about my day and how I thought the year would go.

 After heading to college I kept up the tradition of making molasses cookies for my roommates. Being a resourceful dietetic student, I wanted to put some of my new knowledge to work by modifying the recipe to add some healthier aspects to my favorite cookies. So I took out the salt, added some whole-wheat flour, and used oil instead of Crisco. Plus I cut back on the time it takes to hand roll the cookies by pressing them into a baking pan. I also added a frosting that is not quite as healthy but it is wonderful (plus there is always room for a treat in a healthy diet 🙂 ). I have to say that these bars are just as delicious as the original cookies my Mom makes!

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Molasses Bars

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Frosting:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

How to Make:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, canola oil, molasses, and egg.
  4. Add flour mixture to molasses mixture. Mix well*.
  5. Press dough into a greased 13×9 baking pan.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes (until the edges are lightly browned and top looks dry).
  7. Remove from oven and allow the bars to cool on a wire rack.
  8. While the bars are cooling you can make the frosting.
    1. In a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) add butter and beat until creamy.
    2. Slowly add powdered sugar (about ½ cup at a time) and mix until all the sugar is mixed in.
    3. With mixer on low, slowly drizzle in milk.
    4. Beat mixture on medium-high until frosting is light and fluffy.
    5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and mix until incorporated.
  9. Cut into 12 bars.
  10. Enjoy!

*Mixture may look crumbly but do not worry! That is the way it is supposed to look!

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About the author

Shannon Frink

Shannon Frink is a registered dietitian and busy mom of two active boys. She knows the challenges of being a professional mom with the need to get a healthy, wholesome meal on the table – Quick! Shannon is the registered dietitian at Mary Lanning Heathcare Wellness department, where she has the unique opportunity to assist busy employees and community members to make healthy lifestyle choices! Shannon is Certified in Adult Weight Management by the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition and is an active member of the Nebraska Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition and the Central Nebraska District Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition, as well as, a volunteer in the community. Shannon enjoys following her kids many activities, camping, biking, skiing with her family, trying new recipes, and participating in fitness classes and leagues.