my holiday baking has begun with a bumper crop of gingerbread--somewhere between 10 to 12 pounds of it to be inexact. there's something quite festive about the sweetly lingering scent of ginger, cloves, and cinnamon, which remains, despite the fact that i finished baking the last batch almost two days ago. and yes, these gorgeous mahogany slabs are gifts for others, i don't plan on eating all of it, as that would be more disgusting than you can ever imagine. i know someone who can attest to this.
the recipe is from marion cunningham's "the breakfast book"; the last time i was in la, i spent an obscene amount of money buying a not obscene amount of gingerbread from whole foods (or whole paycheck, as the delightful food nerd calls it), and i was wondering how i was going to sate this growing addiction once i was back on the isle. i checked out the ingredients label, and found that their cake was made with oil, not butter, so i set my sights on finding the right recipe. rather fortuitously, the first book i reached for was the marion cunningham book, and i am almost convinced it is the exact recipe that the supermarket uses (at least in los angeles). it is light in texture, deep in flavour, moist, springy, fragrant, spicy and delicious, and will keep for days, provided you can keep your greedy mitts off of it.
having said that, of course i couldn't keep my grubby paws off the fresh from the oven cake, and snuck a square or two out for my own personal consumption. it is another bridget jones and i love it just as it is, but it is also quite lovely with whipped cream, either just lightly sweetened or with a scraping of vanilla bean, or boozed up with a wee dram of whisky, bourbon, or insert amber liquor of your choice. i, however, opted for what was on hand, and that was a malted ice cream, made with malt powder whisked into a vanilla ice cream base before freezing. i have to recommend, however, that guinness stout added instead will produce a superior, stupendous maltiness that would probably knock this gingerbread block out of the park and into the stratosphere. i used this recipe for both the malt powder and guinness versions, substituting the same amount of powder for the booze. try it sometime.