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Crystallized-Ginger Gingerbread

Fresh ginger is valued as a traditional medicine for its stomach-settling properties. These effects make ginger a good counterbalance to a rich dinner, so it has long been a favorite ingredient in desserts. Here, the warm, spicy flavor of gingerbread is intensified by using two forms of ginger in one recipe: ground and crystallized.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup molasses
  • 1⁄2 cup minced crystallized ginger
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1⁄4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 cup buttermilk or plain low-fat or whole
      yogurt
  • Demerara or other raw sugar for sprinkling
      (optional)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-by-4-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar until creamy and fluffy. Stir in the molasses and crystallized ginger. Beat in the eggs one at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour; mix until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the gingerbread is golden and springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand for 10 minutes. Turn the loaf out onto the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with demerara sugar. Makes 1 loaf; serves 10 to 12.

Notes: This tender, moist, dark gingerbread is good served warm with poached pears and their syrup or with yogurt (see related recipes at right). Or, try it with afternoon tea or coffee. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Adapted from New Healthy Kitchen Series, Desserts, by Annabel Langbein (Simon & Schuster, 2006).