Deep Dark Gingerbread
January 7, 2011
In case you didn’t notice (or you live in some place with obscenely nice weather), it has been raining A LOT this winter. (My apologies to anyone reading this who is currently snowed in or worse, lots of rain is extreme weather for us here in Northern California.) In fact, it rained nearly every day of our Winter Break from school. At first it was nice. We read books, built forts, danced, and suited up in rain gear for wet adventures through the woods. By the end of the second week though, the mere thought of constructing another LEGO plaything made me ill. Luckily my children love to eat even more than I do and given the opportunity they love to cook as well.
Cooking is naturally exciting for kids. Scooping and pouring, cracking and stirring, let us not forget tasting! I try my best to teach my kids how to properly and safely cook so they can really participate in the preparation of our food. My kids are 2 and 4 and love to help. While they are too young to safely wield a knife, there are plenty of other ways for them to be involved. They took turns scooping and leveling the ingredients. The little man added the ingredients to the mixer while the little lady buttered the pan. In between “My turn, no MY turn” and “I want to do that,” they had a great time and the bread turned out fantastic.
Oh, just thinking about this bread makes me want another piece! This is not your grandma’s gingerbread. First, it is loaded with molasses giving it a deep dark color and flavor. Second, it is spiced up with not only ground ginger, but fresh ginger too, and the surprising addition of dry mustard to give it a real punch. Lastly, it is made with mostly whole wheat flour and no additional sugar (the molasses does the trick to sweeten it). Put it all together and you have a rich spicy bread with deep flavors and a mild sweetness suitable for a special dessert or an afternoon snack.
Deep Dark Gingerbread
adapted from the Tassajara Bread Book
makes 1 loaf
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup molasses
1 cup hot water
Whipped cream (for garnish, optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter and flour the pan.
Sift the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and dry spices in a medium bowl.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Add the molasses and egg. Blend until combined. Add the fresh ginger.
Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the hot water. Blend to combine between additions. Begin and end with the flour mixture.
Pour the mixture into a 4 x 8 loaf pan (as I did) or an 8 x 8 square cake pan. Level the top with a spatula.
Bake 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and set on cooling rack in pan. Once bread has cooled 10 minutes, gently slide a thin knife around the outside of the pan and invert to remove. Cool bread on rack.
To serve, cut slice and serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of applesauce.
Here is a printer friendly version of the recipe: Deep Dark Gingerbread
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