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Food
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Gingerbread

Gingerbread is not a bread at all, but a cake. If you find yourself longing for the good old days of foods served in-season and desserts baked from scratch, this delicious recipe is for you. Old-fashioned, yes. But with a creative twist -- a Sweet Cider Sauce plus unsweetened whipped cream with slivers of crystallized ginger.

Batter:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup oil (we used canola)
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup molasses

Sweet Cider Sauce (optional):
3 cups fresh, sweet apple cider
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 allspice berries, bruised
1 piece cinnamon stick, 2 inches long
Pinch salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Garnishes (optional):
Unsweetened whipped cream
Slivers of crystallized ginger

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease the pan (we used a 9-by-13-inch glass pan) with shortening.

Batter: Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. In a separate bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, buttermilk and molasses. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry only enough to moisten, being very careful not to overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in the fully preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until the center feels firm to the touch. (Ours took 42 minutes.) Allow to cool before slicing.

Cider sauce: While the gingerbread is baking, pour 1/4 cup of the cider into a cup, add the cornstarch and stir with a fork until smooth. Pour the remaining cider, allspice berries, cinnamon stick, salt and nutmeg in a small saucepan. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the sauce thickens and turns translucent, about 3 minutes. (We did this in the microwave.)

After the gingerbread has cooled to warm or room temperature, cut into serving size pieces and place on pretty plates. Pour sweet cider sauce onto the plate. Garnish with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and slivered crystallized ginger.

Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Note: For large-party fare, you may double or triple this recipe and bake it in a large wedding cake pan.

"A Romance With Baking"
by Karol Redfern Hamper with Shelley Odegard

Sunday, April 01, 2001



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