Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Honey Butter (plus bonus Cake Pops)

It's that time of year again.  Thanksgiving has passed, Christmas is coming and holiday baking is in full swing.  But in between all the cookies and cakes and pies, make some time to bake up something simple, but no less satisfying.  Let's make some gingerbread.

 And let's be honest.  This is basically cake.  This is cake that we call bread so we can serve it alongside dinner with some butter instead of after dinner covered in frosting (though that way is good, too).  Which is good for me, because when my first batch came out of the oven fallen in the center and burnt on the edges, and I decided to make some adjustments to the recipe on a new batch, I was left with some not very pretty but still edible cake.  Under those circumstances, there's only one responsible thing to do:  cake pops.

And this goes for any cake that has failed you, by the way.  Crumble it up, mix in a little frosting and cover it in chocolate, and no one will have to know that when your cake came out of the oven, there was a crater in the center so big you saw Gandalf the Grey falling down it.

But if your gingerbread does come out nice and pretty, as it should, I recommend eating it as is, with this lemon honey butter.  It's just sweet enough and the lemon complements the ginger really well.  Perfect side dish for wintertime meal.

If you don't want to bother with the fresh ginger, you can still use the dry stuff, just make sure you use less.  One teaspoon mixed in with the other dry ingredients should do it.

Fresh Gingerbread
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour a 9" square baking pan (or spray with baking spray).

In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cloves and set aside.

With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the molasses, egg and ginger and continue mixing until well combined.  Add the dry ingredients and stir together until incorporated, then add the coffee last and mix until the batter comes together.

Pour batter into the pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Lemon Honey Butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix together all of the ingredients.  You're done.

Gingerbread Cake Pops
1/2 batch gingerbread
1/4 - 1/2 cup cream cheese frosting (store bought, or make your own)
1 bag white chocolate chips (check the label - make sure it says cocoa butter in the ingredients)

Put the gingerbread in the bowl of a mixer and mix until it's been broken down into crumbs.  Add the frosting, starting with 1/4 cup, and mix together.  Continue adding frosting until the crumbs start to form a ball, kind of like a cookie dough.

Roll the dough together into tablespoon size balls and set on a silpat or wax paper.  Put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 20 seconds.  Stir.  Continue to microwave and stir in 10 second increments until completely melted.

Take your lollipop sticks and swirl them in the melted chocolate, then stick them in the cold gingerbread balls (Note:  If you don't have the sticks, don't let that stop you, just make these without and call them cake truffles).  By the time you finish your last lollipop the first should stuck on the stick well by the now cooled chocolate. 

Then, just swirl your cake pop in the chocolate until it's completely covered and set back on the silpat or wax paper to dry.  Be sure to decorate while the chocolate's still wet.   If it's taking a while for your chocolate to set and you're impatient like me, stick them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes.

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