Monday, December 28, 2009

Recipe: Three Gingerbreads

Gingerbread, with or without (preferably homemade) whipped cream is a favorite Christmas treat of mine; I avoid glazes. Here are three recipes that I favor. The recipes that use buttermilk can substitute regular milk soured with lemon juice at a rate of 3/4 tsp of lemon juice per 1/4 cup (4 TBS) of milk.

The first is adapted from The Silver Palette cookbook. I make it using Plantation Blackstrap Molasses from Whole Foods so this is a dark assertive gingerbread. You could also make it with something lighter.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup boiling water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan.

Sift dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add egg, sugar, and molasses. Mix well.

Pour boiling water and oil over mixture. Stir thoroughly until smooth.

Pour batter into pan. Set in middle of oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until top springs back when touched, the edges have pulled away slightly from the edges of the pan, and an inserted cake tester comes out dry.

Cool in the pan on a rack.

This next recipe from Laurie Colwin of Gourmet makes use of cane syrup from the C. S. Steen Syrup Mill of Abbeville, Louisiana which is similar to what the British call black treacle. (She got the recipe from a British Penguin book, The Farmhouse Kitchen by Mary Norwak.) It makes a very cake-like gingerbread and is, in fact, baked in a pie dish.

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 heaping tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup dried currants or raisins

6 TBS butter, melted

1/2 cup cane syrup

1 egg

4 TBS buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom of a round 8-inch or 9-inch round pie plate with parchment paper (or grease and flour).

Melt the butter and the cane syrup together over low heat.

Lightly beat egg with the buttermilk.

Mix together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and currants or raisins.

Add eggs and syrup micture and mix well.

Bake 10 minutes in the 375 degree oven, turn down to 325 degrees, and bake 25 to 35 degrees more. A few crumbs stick to a tester when the gingerbread is done.

This last recipe, adapted from Great Dinners from Life, is the least traditional. It uses maple syrup instead of molasses or cane syrup.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (darker grades will have a stronger flavor)

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-inch baking pan.

Combine the sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices together in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the liquid ingredients and the egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until they are well-blended.

Add the batter to the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake spring back when lightly touched and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

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