Gingerbread makes the perfect holiday treat

Metro Service
Perhaps no baked good is more closely linked to the holidays than gingerbread, an indulgence many people enjoy only around Christmas time.

The holiday season is synonymous with many things, including family gatherings, shopping, elaborate lighting displays, and Santa Claus. For foodies, this time of year is the perfect opportunity to indulge one’s love of baked goods.
Between office parties and gatherings with family and friends, it’s hard to avoid baked treats come the holiday season. Perhaps no baked good is more closely linked to the holidays than gingerbread, an indulgence many people enjoy only around Christmas time. Holiday hosts or those who want to bring a dessert to their next holiday gathering can whip up this recipe for “Sticky Chocolate Gingerbread” from Maxine Clark’s “Chocolate: Deliciously Indulgent Recipes for Chocolate Lovers” (Ryland, Peters & Small).
Sticky Chocolate Gingerbread
Makes an 8-inch cake

21⁄3 cups dark molasses
6 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 70 percent cocoa solids), grated
13⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
5 ounces whole pieces preserved stem ginger, drained and roughly chopped
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, sifted (to remove lumps)
2 medium eggs, beaten
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk, warmed
A pinch of salt
Extra-large crystallized ginger pieces, to scatter (optional)
A deep 8-inch square cake pan or 8 x 6 x 3-inch oval
cake pan

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease and line the base and sides of the cake pan with nonstick parchment paper.

Put the molasses in a pan and heat gently until hot, but do not allow it to boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until melted. Sift the flour, ground ginger and salt together in a bowl. Add the stem ginger and toss it around in the flour until every piece is coated. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, then the molasses and chocolate mixture and finally the flour mixture. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk and gradually beat this into the batter.
Pour into the prepared cake pan, scatter with the crystallized ginger, if using, and bake for 45 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 F and bake for another 30 minutes. (If using the oval pan, cook for about 45 minutes at the higher temperature, and then about one hour at the lower temperature, as it will be deeper.) A metal skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. Let cool for five minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. When cold, store in an airtight container for at least a couple of days to mature and become sticky. Don’t worry if it sinks a bit in the middle — this is normal.

– Metro Service

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