This Parisian Gingerbread is my last holiday goodie of the year and it's a good one! The recipe is from my new Bouchon Bakery Cookbook and is a european version of gingerbread: more molasses, moister and denser than american gingerbread. The flavor is a richer and less sweet version of gingerbread that pairs well with the snowy white sweet royal icing poured on top.
The texture is very moist and dense making this a delicious holiday treat and a great way to usher in 2013. The recipe calls for unsulfured blackstrap molasses which are extremely potent in flavor and very very dark in color. I substiuted with mild molasses instead and while my gingerbread isn't as dark as with the blackstrap molasses there is still plenty of molasses flavor without being overwhelming.
All baked goods from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook use eggs that have been lightly beaten with a fork then pushed thru a strainer before incorporating to remove the membrane that holds the white and yolk together. You don't have to strain your eggs (I did!) however I think it is a nuance that adds to the moist, even crumb of the gingerbread. The finished bread is topped with a generous helping of royal icing and I added a little chopped crystalized ginger for garnish. This recipe makes two loaves and can be easily frozen (without icing) to eat at a later date. Here is how you can make your own.
You can find the entire recipe here. Start by spraying two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans with Pam. Cut enough parchment to cover the bottom of each of the pans and press paper into the pans. Spray pans again then set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the dark brown sugar and the molasses (I used mild molasses instead of blackstrap) until smooth. With the mixer running add the oil in a steady stream and mix until completely combined. Scrape down the bowl then add the eggs (100 grams of eggs is approximately 2 eggs) and mix until smooth. Add the flour mixture in two additions until combined. With the mixer running add the boiling water 1/4 cup at a time until completely combined. Mix in the lemon zest. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cakes
cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes then run a spatula or knife
around the edges and turn the cakes out on the rack (remove the parchment paper from the bottoms) to cool completely.
The cakes taste best when made the day before being eaten. When ready to
serve, top the cakes with a generous amount of thick royal icing, allowing it to run down the sides of the cake. You can top the icing with some chopped crystalized ginger if desired.
The cooled, un-iced cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. Defrost in the fridge and rewarm if desired.