Sunday, December 17, 2006

Run, run as fast as you can . . .

Craving Christmas? I've just one (compound) word for you - gingerbread. I just put two loaves in the oven this morning and as I type the house is filling with the mouth-watering deck-the-halls aroma of ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and cocoa. As I'm going to wrap them up all pretty-like and give them as gifts to friends, here's hoping it tastes equally festive :) (Disclaimer - the above pic is not mine!)

I've only ever made this recipe in Canada while treeplanting (you guessed it, 12 loaves at a time!) where I had an abundant supply of molasses (slow as in January) in the familiar cream, yellow and brown carton. Yesterday in the grocery store I stood pontificating about what molasses is known as here (a fun little game - not) and settled correctly on Lyle and Son's black treacle. While scraping the sticky black goodness from the tin, I had time to look carefully at the company's logo which oddly enough depicts a lion carcass swarming with bees - yummy!

Now here's a bit of useless trivia for you - the Lyle and Son's website explains that the Scottish founder Abram Lyle had strong religious beliefs and as such the trademark has a Biblical reference. Samson was travelling to the land of the Philistines in search of a wife. During the journey he killed a lion, and on his return past the same spot he noticed that a swarm of bees had formed a comb of honey in the carcass. Samson later turned this into a riddle: "Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the strong came forth sweetness" Judges 14:14.

But enough about freaky Old Testament imagery. I want to post this recipe from my all-time favourite baking cookbook Baking Illustrated. Very easy, excellent with a cup of tea, and like I said, smells heavenly!

Gingerbread
2 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground c loves
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp cocoa
8 tbsp butter (1 stick - 113g) melted and cooled to room temperature
3/4 c mild or light molasses
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 c milk
1 large egg

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350F or 180C. Line a loaf pan or 7x11 inch baking pan with baking parchment or grease and dust with flour. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat the wet ingredients together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the dry ingredients and beet on medium speed until the batter is smooth and thick, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Do not overmix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake until the top springs back when lightly touched and the edges have pulled away from the pan sides - about 40 minutes for the cake tin or just under an hour for the loaf tin. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Falalalalala . . .

10 comments:

cpb said...

Bye.
cpb.

katevp said...

ooooooooo.

I'm going to make this loaf.

thedunners said...

JBN, have you ever tried Nigella's gingerbread muffin recipe out of Feast? I made it just two days ago, and it is delicious. I am wondering if you might comment on the pros and cons of each. I was thinking that wrapping the muffins up decoratively and tied with a riboon might be a festive holiday gift. Obviously, it might not work as well for the overseas friends... Could you please advise on the merits of the muffin vs. the loaf for a gift? I figure if this is going to be a foody and knitting blog, we should be able to submit questions for the expert?

Signed,
Questioning in California

Anonymous said...

yes and while we are at it, i also have a question for the expert. aklflour;sdfj (please excuse the flour in the message as well as the mashed keys; i'm in the middle of baking and typing is somewhat difficult with oven mitts on one's hands.) anyway, my question is this: might it be possible to, upon taking this apple pie that i have just baked out of the oven, pickle it? any and all suggestions are welcome!

Julie said...

adg
Now I'm confused - I thought you only had a microwave?! I will say that I am relieved to hear you are wearing oven mitts - wouldn't want your digits to get singed.
To answer to your innovative query, yes, I do indeed think you should pickle the apple pie. Sounds delightful! What are you doing for Christmas??
Yours faithfully
jbn

Julie said...

Dunny
Even though I'm not entirely sure if you're being serious (I'm thinking not!) I shall respond earnestly :) Thanks for reminding me to pull out Feast - will do that today - it's full of yummy festive-ness. Shall I be expecting two-week old muffins in the post then?! mmmmmm . . .
J :)

Julie said...

Ms Kate
Get quilting, knitting, baking and cooking! Let the domestic Christmas begin!!
J :)

Julie said...

cpb
please don't go!
j

dunny said...

JBN, I would not jest about something so serious as a Christmas ginger bread. Keep in mind, I am the one who was obsessed with finding the bakery in Belfast that sold me the best iced ginger loaf I have ever eaten! Please take seriously all future food questions.

Signed,
Offended in the OC

Anonymous said...

ah yes, i had forgotten the keen memory, not to mention the sharp wit and supreme graciousness, of this writer. and i won't even try to come up with some sort of excuse like using a friend's oven. but i will let you know how the pickled pie turns out. if it is a success, i will certainly be submitting it to both nigella and betty crocker.

sincerely, adg