Its fall and we are quite fanatic ginger lovers in this household. Its right up there with garlic, which if you’ve ever walked by our apartment around dinner time, probably tells you a lot. Ginger is our secret dumpling ingredient. Not in so far as the use of it, everyone uses ginger, but rather in the amount. We grind a rather scandalous amount of ginger into our dumplings around here. People wonder what the secret is. Its the ginger we say, and the fact that we grind our pork at home.
But I digress. This post is about ginger in another, equally delicious form: bars of gingerbread. Which, I found out last weekend, are sort of like taking a big whiff and a nibble of Fall itself.
Why bars not cookies? I wondered myself until I tried them. Having done so I feel I can make this comparison. Have you ever picked up a single red and gold leaf on a city block and thought it was just so gorgeous? But then you find a whole pile of red and gold leaves in a park and suddenly your prancing and dancing through a pile of sweet fall smells and swhooshing leaves around your ankles? Its downright euphoric.
That’s sort of the difference between a gingerbread cookie and a gingerbread bar. When I’m feeling fall, I want to be swimming in it.
I found this recipe in the July issue of Bon Appetite. I got excited about the sort of cookie/sort of cake like texture the recipe described. The recipe calls for a 10x15x1″ pan which is pretty big. I used what I had (9x11x2-ish) and liked it better. The texture this way is almost brownie like and super-moist with nice chewy bits around the edges. If you want a more cakey texture, I’d up the baking soda just a touch.
The only other changes I made were to amp the ginger way up (about 1.5 the recipe of dried plus some fresh ginger) and to amp up the cinnamon because, for me, cinnamon is also up there on the spice list. I might have also upped the ante on the clove and nutmeg just a teensy bit, to keep things even. The recipe is intended to be used for ice cream sandwiches and I skipped that bit of it, but I think some sort of maple/sugary/gingery icing drizzled over the pieces might have been nice. I’ll definitely try it on the second go around.
* 2 cups all purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons ground ginger (up this and add fresh ginger)
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I did about 2.5)
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (added a little extra)
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (again, a little extra)
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
* 7 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
* 2 large eggs
* 1/4 cup light (unsulfured) molasses
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour your bakeware. (helpful tip I just learned! if using glass, lower baking temp about 25 degrees F)
Place 2 cups flour in medium bowl. Add spices, baking soda, and salt to flour in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and 6 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then molasses. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and beat to blend. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Sift reserved 2 tablespoons flour evenly over batter, then sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.
Bake gingerbread until golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 22 minutes; cool completely in pan on rack. Cut gingerbread
crosswise into 4 strips, then cut each strip into 6 pieces, forming 24 bars, each about 31/2×13/4 inches into whatever size you want, though forewarned, they are rich and addicting. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead.Store airtight at room temperature.