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Two smells from exotic places make me think of the holidays:  ginger and chocolate.  Neither product is local, and wars were fought over both of them as the world learned of their culinary power.  Nonetheless, if I use all other local, organic ingredients, I’m happy to use ginger and chocolate in moderation, just as my grandparents did.  This recipe for Chocolate Chip Gingerbread uses both flavors, and it’s easy enough for a grade schooler to bake.  Enjoy!
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted
  • 1/4-1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup molasses  Grease your measuring cup to get all of the molasses out.  If any linger, swirl the hot water (below) in it to finish the job.
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 + 1/3 cups whole-grain oat flower
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of ginger  Yes, this is a lot of ginger. If you don’t like it, use less.
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • sprinkle of allspice  If you don’t have allspice, you can use a really, really tiny sprinkle of ground cloves.
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease 2 bread pans, each about 4″ x 8″.  In a large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients, being sure not to cook the egg with the hot water.  Now toss all the floury dry ingredients and spices on top, taking care to sprinkle the baking soda across the top.  Stir everything together thoroughly to make a thick, dark batter.  No, don’t add the chips yet! Now pour about an inch of the batter into the bottom of each greased pan.  Now mix the chocolate chips into the remaining batter and pour it, split evenly, on top of the inch of chip-free batter in each bread pan.  Bake at 325 degrees F for about 50 minutes.  Cool well before you remove it from the pan.

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