Not Your Standard Gingerbread –

by

This is a soft, moist gingerbread cake totally unsuited for the construction of architectural oddities. Forget gingerbread men and gingerbread houses. This stuff is for eating and is mighty tasty. Especially warm with ice cream and/or whipped cream on top.

250 g Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (2 cups)
50 g granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
5 g baking soda (1 tsp)
3 g salt (1/2 tsp)
4 g ground ginger (1-1/2 tsp)
3 g cinnamon (1 tsp)
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
255 g molasses
57 g water
1 large egg
227 g buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″ pan. I like to use unsalted butter kinda’ heavily. Mix up everything in a good stand mixer until thoroughly blended. If you want to do it by hand mix up all the dry stuff. Mix up all the wet stuff and add to the dry stuff stirring until completely blended. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake at 350°F for 35 minutes or so – the cake should be just pulling away from the sides of the pan. Gently cut away from the sides of the pan and decant onto a plate or a drying rack. Mine is usually too soft and moist to do well on a rack. Cool for at least 15 minutes before attacking.

Variations: You could use white whole wheat instead of standard all-purpose flour, just use about 25 grams more of the white whole wheat. King Arthur has a pretty good white whole wheat, but you will probably have to order it from their web site unless your local groceries have a better selection than around here.

You could also rough chop 50 to 100 grams of crystallized ginger and stir it in if you really want a potent ginger kick.

If you really want to go the old-fashioned way, make your own crystallized ginger:

Peel and thin slice about a pound or so of fresh ginger root and put it in a saucepan. Cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for about a half hour. The ginger should be very soft at this point. Drain off the water and weigh the ginger. Add an equal amount of sugar by weight and put it all back in the saucepan along with 3 tablespoons of water. Now come the tricky part. A gas range is easier for boiling sugar since you can control the heat better. Anyway, bring to a boil stirring very frequently. Boil gently until the ginger is transparent and the liquid has mostly gone. Reduce the heat and continue to cook while stirring constantly until it is just about dry. Toss the ginger pieces in sugar and store in an airtight jar. It will keep for around three months. We call it crystallized ginger but it is really candied ginger. You probably already know that the biggest thing about cooking things in sugar is that you must watch the temperature carefully and keep stirring. To cool and the sugar will not melt properly. Too hot and it will burn and make a terrible mess. The just right between too cool and too hot is a pretty narrow temperature range. You will do just fine if you keep an eye on the temperature and stir constantly. Oh yeah, you want to wash up immediately or you will have a good scrub ahead to get that pan clean.

The candied ginger has been used as a treat for centuries. It has been served with fine coffee in many places. You want a Viennese sort of treat then coat it with bittersweet chocolate and chopped nuts. Try that with cold Champagne or some decent light, sparkling wine for a very traditional European breakfast treat. (I prefer eggs and such myself).

Herself Sez: This is incredibly good! But my Ol’ Curmudgeon didn’t even MENTION Champagne as an option for Saturday breakfast to me! Harumph! He might prefer eggs and such (and I usually have to cook them), but I’d love a “petit déjeuner” of fresh, warm gingerbread and Champagne! Then I could post the blogs in a lovely mood!

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