Ginger Bread, or creative problem solving


I like a good vanilla.  I’m quite fond of thyme.  Coriander adds a little kick.  But I love ginger.

Today, though, it cloudy and stormy and cold enough.  I want gingerbread.  And I don’t want to go to the store. Time for some creative problem solving. I’ve done this enough to know how to innovate.

Problem:  I don’t have any molasses.

Solution:  I have some leftover black treacle from holiday baking a couple of years ago, and I can use that.

Problem: I don’t have a cup of treacle.

Solution: I can eke out enough by adding some dark corn syrup.

Problem: The recipe wants 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar.  But my sugar is hard.

Solution: I can heat the treacle, corn syrup and sugar with a little lime juice and the butter.

Problem: I don’t have any candied ginger left (OK.  I must be on a ginger kick, because I ate the last of the candied ginger yesterday.  I’m clearly not planning ahead.)

Solution: I can add more ground ginger and some nutmeg and mace, making the gingerbread spicier.

So here goes – as adapted from the most recent Joy of Cooking

Mix together 1 3/4 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon mace, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Heat over low heat until the sugar is dissolved 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1 cup black treacle, 1 tablespoon sweetened lime juice from concentrate and 1 stick of unsalted butter.

Add sugar mix to dry mix, stir until all the flour mix is incorporated.  Add one large egg to the mix, beat until smooth (I use a wire whisk).

Pour into a buttered 9-inch pan and bake about 45 minutes at 350

.

Ginger cooked with pork or chicken makes the dish – whether I’m cooking something oriental or something European.  And speaking of European, there’s nothing quite as great as adding ginger to beef to make sauerbraten.  Which I made once, marinating brisket in crushed gingersnaps, vinegar and wine for a couple of days.  

Add ginger to apples and improve a pie.  Be judicious with ginger to bring brightness to pears.  Mix dried fruit and raisins with ginger, and make something that seems like Christmas. or just make gingerbread, and address that craving.

The kitchen smells really good, and now I don’t need to munch on anything.  I’ll cut the gingerbread after dinner, and serve it with a little lemon glaze.

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