Food on Friday: Catching the gingerbread bug

By Julia Westhoff

Food_on_FridayI always crave gingerbread during this time of year – its flavors are so quintessentially Christmas. Unfortunately, it’s a struggle to find exactly what I’m looking for. I’m not talking about those cute little cookie men (although those have their place), or the “gingerbread” houses the girls love to decorate (usually made of graham crackers). What I crave is a dark, spicy, rich gingerbread to eat with coffee or ice cream.

This year instead of complaining about it (which I guess I just did), I decided to just make the darn gingerbread myself. And I’m so glad I did. Not only was it tasty and perfect, but it made the house smell amazing for days. The Guinness seemed to deepen the flavors and made it fluffy, and it stayed moist until it was gone.

The girls and I ate ours warm, either with applesauce in the morning or ice cream at night. We might have to make some more and leave it for Santa J. I love starting new Christmas traditions.

Guinness Stout Ginger Cake
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup molasses
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh gingerroot

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9- X 5-inch loaf pan, line the bottom and sides with parchment, and grease the parchment. Alternatively, butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan.
2. In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the stout and molasses and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the baking soda. Allow to sit until the foam dissipates.
3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars. Whisk in the oil.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom.
5. Combine the stout mixture with the egg mixture, then whisk this liquid into the flour mixture, half at a time. Add the fresh ginger and stir to combine.
6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the top springs back when gently pressed. Do not open the oven until the gingerbread is almost done, or the center may fall slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.