Gingerbread is one of my kids' favorite fall treats, and, I have to admit, I'm pretty fond of it, too. This winning recipe from the "The Gourmet Cookbook" (my go-to source for just about everything) offers the perfect amount of spice and takes just a few minutes to throw together. Your kitchen will smell fantastic as it's baking.
More of a cake than a bread, gingerbread usually serves as a snack or dessert. But it also makes an excellent breakfast. I like to sprinkle a little confectioners' sugar on top, but you also could serve it with whipped cream or lemon curd.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
11/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
2/3 cup hot water
Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch baking pan.
Sift together flour, baking soda, spice and salt into a bowl.
Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. (I used a stand mixer.) Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in molasses (batter may look separated). Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture, then add water and mix until batter is smooth, about 1 minute.
Pour batter into baking pan. Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for about 20 minutes and serve warm.
Makes 9 generous slices.
-- "The Gourmet Cookbook" (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)
Gretchen McKay: email@example.com, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.