ultimate gingerbread

Congratulations. You have found a source for absolutely ultimate gingerbread for a chilly day.

Winter begs for nourishing bread that heats you up from tips-to-toes. Enter gingerbread.

Forget cakey, flakey, wimpy gingerbread. This version is dense, sticky, spicy, and insanely addictive. It actually improves if it sits for a day but no one can wait that long before diving into it. Plus there’s that bonus where your kitchen radiates heat and an aroma that will have you floating through the house. 

A quick note: Please learn from my mistakes! Take the pan measurements seriously. I had to deal with a pan overflow in the oven that produced more batter than Mt. Vesuvias. I rescued the disaster (this version is worth saving).

This recipe is adapted from The Bread Book by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake. Incidentally, the authors make a case on page 140 for homemade spice blends that include combinations like white peppercorn, nutmeg, ginger, cumin seed and cloves.

What you need:

Give yourself about an hour the first time you make this. It’s easy, just be precise.

1.5 cups self rising flour; 1/2 teaspoon baking soda; 1 Tablespoon ground ginger; 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg; 1 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/2 teaspoon cloves; 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter–diced; 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar; 1 cup milk; 1 cup dark unsulfured molasses; 1 large egg–beaten.

a 10 x 5 x 2.5 inch loaf pan OR 9 inch round springform pan. Greased, bottom lined with waxed paper and greased (or sprayed) again.

ultimate gingerbread spices 

Heat the oven to 350F.   Sift flour, baking soda, and spices into a large bowl (I usually add then whisk ingredients instead of sifting: it’s easier). Rub in the butter with your clean fingertips until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. 

Stir in the sugar and milk into a medium-size saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved—barely. If you see so much as a single, tiny bubble turn it off immediately or you risk curdling the milk. It’s gross, try and avoid it. Remove from the heat and stir in the molasses. Let stand until lukewarm then whisk in the egg.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted off center comes out clean (as it cools the gingerbread will leave a large, moist depression).

Let it cool completely in the pan. Turn the cake out of the pan and remove the paper. Wrap it in waxed paper then in foil. Alternatively, toss your self-control aside, slice a piece immediately and enjoy it.

Warm wishes!