This is Sandy and Stephen standing in our garden in back of The Parsonage as depicted in a miniature painting by artist Barbara Stevenson.
GINGERBREAD … THE SWEETEST SMELL OF CHRISTMAS
by SB Sandy (Gilead SBs)
The comforting scents of Chrismas – a freshly cut tree, smoldering logs in the fireplace, hot chocolate warming on the stove, and the enveloping aroma of gingerbread baking in the oven.
After experimenting with several recipes through the years, I adopted Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s classic for a moist, dark, and spicy gingerbread that is not too sweet. The addition of black pepper to enhance other spices is a historic hook that works.
- 2 cups minus 2 tbls unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 generous tsp baking soda
- ½ generous tsp salt
- 1 tbls ground ginger
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp fresh-ground black pepper
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup mild or dark molasses
- ¾ cup very hot water (190’F)
- 1/3 tight-packed cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- whipped cream for serving
- crushed candy canes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour an 8-inch square, metal pan.
In a medium bow, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, molasses, hot water, and brown sugar. When the mixture is almost frothy, beat in the egg, and gradually add the flour mixture. Stir until thoroughly blended, but no more.
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
For a moist gingerbread, cool it in the pan on a wire rack. For a drier consistency, cool the gingerbread in the pan for 10 minutes; then turn it out of the pan and set it on the rack to cool.
Serve warm if possible, with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream. At Christmas time, I sprinkle crushed candy canes over the whipped cream for a festive look and flavor.
Don’t forget to eat this for breakfast. Gingerbread is even better the day after it is baked.
And, finally, a different Christmas greeting from The Parsonage:
[I love everything about Christmas, except what it’s become. Peace on earth, goodwill towards apes. SB SM]