Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Gingerbread

Slabs of buttered warm gingerbread ended a recent supper with friends. Talk about the quintessential dessert for a cold winter night — and buttering the gingerbread the way you would toast gave it just the right homey finish.

Moist, dark, spicy and not too sweet, gingerbread is what I call a "stir and bake cake." No fussing, whipping or fiddling. Black pepper gives a spark to the other ingredients and it was always present in gingerbreads of the past.

Make a batch to bake while you're eating dinner and serve warm with butter, whipped cream, a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, applesauce or poached fruit like pears, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Leftover gingerbread keeps five to seven days, well wrapped, at room temperature and freezes beautifully for up to three months.

Here is my recipe:

Lynne's Dark and Moist Gingerbread
Copyright 2007 Lynne Rossetto Kasper. All Rights Reserved

Makes 9 servings

  • 2 cups, less 2 tablespoons, all-purpose unbleached flour (measure by spooning into cup and leveling)
  • 1 generous teaspoon baking soda
  • Generous 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup dark molasses
  • 3/4 cup very hot water (190 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg

1. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

2. In another bowl, beat together the rest of the ingredients except the egg. When almost frothy, beat in the egg and quickly add the flour mixture.

3. Stir only until thoroughly blended. Pour into pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack in the pan for a moist cake. For a drier consistency, cool 10 minutes on rack then turn out of pan.

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