Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Gingerbread Squares with Chocolate Topping

Servings: Makes 9 gingerbread squares
Children will love this moist, spicy treat. Get the entire family involved by decorating the squares together with frostings and candies to suit the festive holiday.

3 tbsp. (1 1/2 oz./43g) butter, softened
2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 egg white
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sweetened applesauce

Chocolate Topping (see below)

Christmas candies, pieces of crystallized ginger, candied orange slices or other festive decorations of your choice

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2. Beat butter and sugar in medium bowl until well blended. Beat in molasses and egg white.

3. Combine dry ingredients in small bowl; mix well. Add to butter mixture alternately with applesauce, mixing well after each addition. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Frost while still warm with Chocolate Topping, if desired. When topping has firmed up in the refrigerator, decorate top of squares with Christmas candies, crystallized ginger or candied orange slices.

Chocolate Topping

4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons butter

Place chocolate and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on medium, stirring halfway through, until almost melted, 3 minutes. Remove. Stir until smooth. Or melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan set over low heat. Spread topping over warm gingerbread, right to corners of baking dish. Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate, uncovered, until topping firms up, approximately 1 hour. Slice into squares. Decorate with Christmas candies, crystallized ginger, or candied orange slices, if desired. Serve or wrap and refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Makes 9 gingerbread squares.

Date: December 17, 2006