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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Seasonal Desserts

The winter months can wreak havoc on your waistline. People practically carry sweets and treats with them at all times. And worst of all, people like me bake rich, heavy desserts that must be enjoyed warm by the fire. It's just the way the holidays usually go. Fudge, cookies, and candy - OH MY.

I suppose I won't even try to fight the urge this holiday season. While I was waiting on my 12-hour bolognese Tuesday afternoon, Nancy asked me to make a gingerbread from scratch, which was Marianne's market recipe for the week featured in their column Sweet Basil & the Bee in the Chico Enterprise-Record. At first I thought she was crazy - after all, we had a boxed gingerbread mix in the cupboard and she wanted me to slave away at this one from scratch? Well I did it anyway, and it wasn't all that difficult!

This gingerbread is dark, and by dark I mean almost black in color. I think that mostly comes from the cup of molasses the recipe asks you to add. Go ahead and do it. But also remember that the warm, boozy apples and sweetened whipped cream are a must to counter the bold flavors of the gingerbread. ENJOY!

Gingerbread with Warm Apples and Whipped Cream

Gingerbread with Warm Apples

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces (1 stick) soft sweet butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

Warm apples:
7 medium-sized firm, juicy apples
2 tablespoons sweet butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Calvados (an apple brandy - feel free to substitute the regular stuff)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch salt

To make the gingerbread:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan.
2. Bring the water to a boil in a small pot and remove it from the heat. Stir in the molasses and the baking soda. Set the molasses mixture aside to cool to lukewarm.
3. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the paddle attachment, cream on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Continue to mix, add the eggs.
4. Sift together the salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, flour, and baking powder. Alternately fold the dry ingredients and the cooled molasses mixture into the butter and egg mixture on low speed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
5. Bake the gingerbread for 30 to 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

To make the apples:

Peel, core, and slice the apples 3/16 inch thick. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook the apples, stirring occasionally, until they are soft but still retain their shape.

Cut the cake and serve it with warm apples and lightly whipped cream.

Serves 8
Eric Lovelin Photography


  1. Thanks for leaving the recipe. I'll have to try it (in all my spare time!) :)

  2. oh WOW not only does that look amazing to eat, but the colors of your photo are amazing.

  3. You are correct - I retract that man card takeaway because the dessert does look delicious. I reinstate it, however, because you did it at Nancy's beck and call. Yes, yes - that's the sound of a whip cracking.

    Wouldn't it be funny if you had to give me a free photo after all the abuse I give you? :)