Friday, December 4, 2009

Perfect Gingerbread

Gingerbread is something I crave regularly in the winter, we have it several times a month, often for breakfast. This morning was one of those mornings and we devoured almost all of it straight from the oven. The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Dairy Hollow House Cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon. She once lived here in Arkansas and helped pioneer the bed and breakfast industry in Eureka Springs. Two cookbooks were written during her ownership of The Dairy Hollow House, the copy above was purchased in their gift shop and autographed by the author the first time I visited Eureka Springs as a college student. It is one of my favorite cookbooks and I read it almost every year. I'm kind of weird like that, my preferred reading is usually a cookbook and there's always one on my nightstand. This recipe is adapted from her recipe for Elsie's Gingerbread and it's a great one. Not too molassesy, not too sweet, with a cake-like texture. The crumb topping makes it extra special and it is made as you make the batter so it's a one bowl treat. Gingerbread is not made all that often nowadays so people are surprised and pleased when you serve it. Try it and you will be surprised yourself!

Perfect Gingerbread
Adapted from Elsie's Gingerbread

1 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup white)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
4 Tablespoons molasses
1 cup buttermilk (or sour 1 cup of milk with 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice)

Stir together flour, sugar, ginger and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Scoop out 1/4 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside. Add baking soda and salt and stir lightly to incorporate. Stir in egg and molasses, this won't mix in completely so don't worry. Pour in buttermilk or soured milk and quickly stir to combine. Pour into a buttered 9 inch baking pan and sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the sides start to pull away from the edge of the pan. Remove from the oven and serve hot, warm or cool. Anyway you serve it, you can't go wrong!


stitching under oaks said...

That sounds wonderful...I love gingerbread. It's such a Christmas thing for me...the smell, the taste...mmmmm. Have a wonderful week!

Kristin said...

Hey, we bought some iced gingerbread men at WalGreens for $2.50! ;) Just kidding. Your bread looks amazing. I'm sure it smells great.