The scent of gingerbread baking has to be one of the loveliest scents that ever filled our home. The blend of cinnamon, ginger and molasses is so cozy and comforting this time of year. After swooning over the scents wafting out of the oven today, I got to taste the first little nibble before anyone else got home. For a moment I was transfixed by the warm, moist, soft cake and the sweetness of all my Christmas memories tucked into one bite.
(Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook’s recipe for Gingerbread, with more spices and fresh ginger for an extra aromatic and intense version)
- 1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 2 Tbs. freshly grated ginger (in a pinch, ground ginger is fine — 1 1/2 teaspoon or to taste)
- 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
- 1 dash each: ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 6 Tbs. unsalted butter (3 oz/90 g) at room temperature
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1/2 cup warm water
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Lightly grease an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking dish and dust with flour. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice & salt until well blended. Set aside. In another bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until just blended. Continue beating while slowly adding the molasses. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg mixture and stir until just incorporated. Add the water and stir until blended.
Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until the gingerbread is slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature, with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar or a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Makes 12 servings.