Friday, September 3, 2010

Deep Dark Gingerbread

(Faithfully re-posted from the other blog project. Expect more original postings on here very soon - I've pretty much learned what I needed to know about Wordpress. Viva la Blogger!)

I know I'm out of season on this one,  but this past week I had the most insatiable craving for gingerbread.  Maybe its because the weather is indistinguishable from mid winter in downtown San Francisco right now.
Sadly its apparently summer everywhere else, which means it's damn near impossible to find this thing that I'm craving.
What does one do in this situation, other than sit around and cry hungrily and probably eat a lot of other baked goods to try and fill the void?
Sometimes, you just have to take matters into your own hands.
I am not great at baking. I recently made a batch of chocolate chip cookies so bad that my husband recommended we just toss them rather than subject ourselves to the horror of eating them. (Thx ego boost,  honey!)
Like always I try to attempt recipes using stuff I randomly have in my house - in this case, blackstrap molasses, avocado honey, and leftover ginger syrup from an attempt to make ginger beer not too long ago. And tea masala, because it goes well in everything.
But I have to say that this attempt at gingerbread turned out well. Its not as sweet as what you'd find at a cafe. Its dark,  and sticky, and spicy, and almost bitter in the same way that good chocolate is. It would be heavenly with vanilla ice cream (or the tail end of a carton of heavy cream that I whipped up).
This would be even better if you have crystalized ginger on hand (like 1/4 of a cup, roughly chopped.)
Deep Dark Gingerbread
adapted from the gingerbread recipe in "Canning for a New Generation" by Liana Krissoff
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons english mustard powder (the kind that comes in a yellow box)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon tea masala (sorry, I put it in everything!)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 3/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup good dark honey
  • 1/4 cup ginger beer, or ginger syrup if you have any, or preserved ginger in its syrup, or crystallized ginger chopped.
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. line a square baking pan with tinfoil, or generously butter a loaf pan.
  3. sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, spices) into a medium bowl.
  4. with an electric mixer or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. add the egg and molasses and honey, and beat for 5 to 8 minutes until the color lightens.
  6. beat in the ginger stuff, whatever you're using.
  7. Add the flour mixture a third at a time, beating in throughly, and alternate with a third of the hot water.
  8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let it cool for 15 minutes or so..
- this is a good time to whip up some cream, or pick up ice cream at the store.
(AKA something where you aren't so distracted by the smell that you can't wait until it's cooled. This is a lot better when it's totally cooled or just barely warm - I think it's even better the next day.)
Other stuff that goes amazingly with gingerbread:
- pears or quinces poached in spice and vanilla syrup
- plums in caramel sauce
- anything creamy - ginger ice cream, a bourbon-spiked creme anglais, a ginger or cinnamon flavored whipped cream.
- lemon or grapefruit curd
What? Just because I'm not the worlds best baker, doesn't mean I don't have the palate. Oh for a pastry chef at my command.
(maybe I can press my husband into service)

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