Sunday, December 20, 2009

our favorite gingerbread recipe. super yum.

our favorite gingerbread recipe (thanks, nigella)
adapted slightly from our favorite cookbook, Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess; and please, don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe -- it’s really easy

*you can make this as specified in the recipe, in a nine by thirteen pan, in which case you just cut it when cool into about twenty rectangular pieces, or you can get a it creative, and do something else . . . we like to make gingerbread cupcakes, iced with the royal icing from the recipe, and decorated with a sprinkle of Wilton sparkly edible “snow” sugar, or with Martha Stewart’s very pretty holly and berry sugar sprays, both available at Michaels*

so, for the gingerbread:

a half cup plus two tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
a half cup plus two tablespoons brown sugar
three quarters of a cup plus one tablespoon of light corn syrup
three quarters of a cup plus one tablespoon of molasses
two teaspoons of ginger, either fresh grated or the ground up kind you can buy in a jar at specialty food shops, and store in your refrigerator
one teaspoon ground cinnamon
one cup plus two tablespoons milk or soymilk
two large eggs, beaten to mix
one teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in two tablespoons warm water
2 cups all purpose flour

grease a twelve by nine roasting pan, and line with parchment paper or foil

for the icing:

one tablespoon lemon juice, or lime if you’re stuck
way more than the half cup icing/confectioner’s sugar that nigella recommends
one tablespoon of warm water, or an otherwise appropriate amount

preheat the oven to 325F

in a big saucepan, melt the butter along with the sugar, syrup, molasses, ginger, and cinnamon.  Off the heat, add the milk, eggs, and baking soda in its water.  Measure the flour out into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed - it will be a very liquid batter.  Pour it into the pan and bake for three quarters of an hour to an hour, until risen and firm. It will carry on cooking as it cools, so be careful not to overcook.  It is better when it’s a little sticky.  When it’s cool, make the icing.  Whisk the lemon juice into the sugar first, and then gradually add warm water.  You want the icing to be just right - thick enough to slather it on with a knife, but thin enough so that some of it drips down the edges of the cake.  Yum.  Cut into squares or rectangles, as you wish.

you can make this gingerbread in lots of ways; in the nine by thirteen pan, as cupcakes, in individual loaf pans for your neighbors, in a star shaped cake pan, whatever you have handy, really . . . . you can set off the rich dark brown of the cake with royal icing and  edible “snow”, or you can simply sprinkle powdered sugar on top.  But the best ever version is the gingerbread mold, this year available at williams sonoma as a cakelet pan, with a little Christmas village of houses and a church that pop out perfectly detailed.  Just make them, set them up on a pretty cake pedestal, ice with “snow”, and voila, a lovely anchor for your holiday table, or a charming and delicious gift.


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