High Country Baking: Single-serving gingerbread
High Country Baking
Not for the faint of heart — that’s what these single-serving gingerbreads are. Hot, spicy and boldly flavorful, it’s hard to believe something so petite and cute could pack such a punch. Generous amounts of ground and crystallized ginger are the responsible parties, assuring a robust kick of this zesty spice in every bite.
Like most gingerbreads, these come together quickly and, due to their miniature size, bake just as fast. In about an hour, they’re ready to serve, though many claim they’re at their best the next day, so feel free to make them ahead. Finely chopping the crystallized ginger is the most time-consuming part of the recipe. To keep the ginger from sticking to your knife, grease it with a baking spray that contains flour, and clean and re-grease it as needed. It’s important to continue chopping until the sticky stuff is in very small pieces so they melt into the batter as it bakes.
Adjusted for elevations of 7,000 feet and above. Make in 6-ounce capacity cupcake or mini-Bundt cake pans. Yields 10 three-inch mini-Bundt gingerbreads or more if made in a standard cupcake pan.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- A little less than 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 extra-large egg
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, spoon and level
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Lemon glaze (optional)
- 3/4-1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1-2 teaspoons milk and water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Generously grease the cups of your baking pan with a baking spray that contains flour and set it aside. If using a cupcake pan, line the cups with paper liners and spray the liners with baking spray.
Cut up the butter and place the pieces in a mixing bowl along with the brown sugar, molasses and boiling water. Whisk until the butter melts and the ingredients are well combined. Let cool to lukewarm, and then whisk in the baking soda, salt and egg.
Add the flour, ginger, cinnamon and cloves to a smaller bowl, and whisk to aerate well (you can also do this by sifting the ingredients) and then stir the mixture into the wet ingredients. The batter will be thin. Gently stir in the chopped crystallized ginger until it’s evenly distributed.
Pour the batter into the prepared cups, filling them half full. Bake until the tops are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18-24 minutes. Remove the gingerbreads from the oven and cool them sightly. If you aren’t using the lemon glaze, they’re ready to serve. We think they’re at their best after 24 hours, when the flavors are well blended.
While the gingerbreads bake, make the lemon glaze, if using: Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar to a small bowl, whisk in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon milk or water. Slowly add more sugar or more liquid until the mixture thickens but is easy to pour. While the gingerbreads are still warm, remove them from the pan, place them on a sheet of waxed paper (to catch drips) and drizzle the lemon glaze over them, letting it run down the sides. Serve the gingerbreads warm and store well-covered in the fridge. They can be rewarmed in a 325 degree oven or a microwave oven.
Editor’s note: This recipe is a variation of one published by King Arthur Flour.
Vera Dawson’s column “High Country Baking” publishes biweekly in the Summit Daily News. Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks. Her recipes have been tested in her kitchen in Frisco, where she’s lived since 1991, and altered until they work at elevation. Contact her at email@example.com.
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