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Friday, April 22, 2005

SHF#7: Dense gingerbread

My first-ever Sugar High Friday entry! Woohoo!

When I found out Derrick's chosen key ingredient was molasses, my first thoughts--like Niki--were of literary memories of childhood. I can remember poring over English and American stories, trying to imagine the treacle tarts, pulled taffy and treacle toffee so lovingly described. I had no idea what these things were, but boy, they sounded good!

I've never even cooked with molasses before. In Australia, golden syrup (or light treacle) is more the norm--to make Anzac cookies mainly, or to drizzle on toast. In fact I couldn't find molasses at all and so ended up using treacle (as allowable by Sub-section 4, by-law 21 in the SHF Guidelines). Watching the thick viscous dark syrup of treacle drizzle languidly into my saucepan was a new experience--fascinating and totally mesmerising...

So what to make with my treacle? With so many recipes to choose from (bless the Internet), I finally settled on making gingerbread. I'd only recently been discussing with someone how much I miss my Soreen malt loaf from Sainsburys--I love moist dense cakes which seem to be enhanced in flavour with a mouthful of tea.

I was allured by the title of this recipe, Dense Gingerbread. Ooh! Sounded goooooood.

Dense Gingerbread
From CD Kitchen

3/4 cup butter, lard or cooking fat (I used butter)
2/3 cup moist brown sugar
2/3 cup black treacle
1/3 cup golden syrup
3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon allspice, or to taste
2 teaspoons ground ginger, or to taste (I used double this amount for extra kick)
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons milk
2/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 300F.
Line a 8 inch square or 9 inch round cake tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
Put the fat, sugar, treacle and syrup into a large saucepan, stir over a moderate heat until melted.
Sift the flower with the bicarbonate of soda, allspice and ginger.
Pour the melted ingredients over the flour then stir in the beaten eggs and milk and mix together.

Heat the water in the saucepan in which the fat was melted, stir to absorb any of the mixture left in the pan, then add to the other ingredients.
Beat briskly to a smooth, soft consistency.
Spoon into the cake tin [I added glace ginger on top for extra flavour and yes, visual presentation] and bake for 1 1/4 hours or until firm to the touch. A fine wooden skewer inserted into the cake should come away quite clean.
Cool in the tin; remove the paper or parchment.
Store for several days before cutting.

This was dead-easy to whip up. The hardest thing was probably packing them into airtight containers to store and resisting the urge to taste-test!

Three days later though, the gingerbread was definitely glossier on top and seemed to have gotten darker in colour. I actually made two loaves--one in a shallow tin about 5cm / 2 inches high [pictured]; the other more of a bread loaf size at 13cm / 5 inches high.

The higher loaf was definitely moister but both have been absolute winners at home and in the office!

The gingerbread has a wonderful rich toffee colour and is so heavy, dense and moist it's almost pliable! The heady aroma of spicy ginger hits you when you lift the container lid. Slicing it is a breeze--it gives way just enough to prevent too many crumbs tumbling.

Even though I doubled the amount of ginger, it still could have done with more (you ginger whore you!). But I've found eating it simulateneously with a good strong cup of tea does bring out more of the ginger flavour. The sticky crust on top is definitely the highlight and saved until the last few mouthfuls.

I'm eating this for morning tea, afternoon tea and after dinner. It makes my tummy feel all warm and happy. Ginger's good for you, you know =)

- For the full listing of all the black and sticky entries, check out Derrick's wrap-up at An Obsession with Food.
3 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 4/22/2005 07:00:00 pm


  • At 4/22/2005 8:52 pm, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AG,

    Looks good. I think I'm going to have to miss this one... =(

  • At 4/23/2005 4:02 am, Blogger Niki said…

    I'm so totally with you on the sticky crust thing! And moist cakes like gingerbread are just fantastic. I reckon you should try a chocolate gingerbread soon, that stuff is seriously amazing.
    Great pictures, by the way!

  • At 4/25/2005 10:49 am, Blogger pinkcocoa said…

    hey AG
    Looks yummy! I've been so exhausted from a full week of job interviews that I totally forgot about SHF and IMBB!!! Shame one me >.<


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