Triple-Ginger Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Sauce

Triple Ginger Gingerbread Slab

“I’d made my special cream-cheese sauce to go with the triple-ginger gingerbread. I’d long felt that gingerbread, while excellent in itself, was still essentially an excuse to eat the sauce, so I’d always made twice as much per portion as the original recipe called for. Then it turned out that some of our customers were even more crazed than I was, so I’d started making three times as much, and we served it in little sauceboats. You got purists occasionally that didn’t want any sauce, but the slack was taken up somehow.”
-Sunshine

After what feels like an endless string of baking fails, I have whiplash from this sudden reversal of fortune. I’m just going to tell you guys right now: the Triple-Ginger Gingerbread is amazing. It is so good it deserves its own food group. The food pyramid should be: meat, vegetables, ice cream, grains, and triple-ginger gingerbread with cream cheese sauce. When I first read the recipe, I thought it was overzealous with the ginger. Like getting the word “man” in Pictionary and drawing portrait of Tom Selleck in a tank. There is a lot of ginger in this thing. But you know what? It works. Beautifully. I am delighted to say that it tastes exactly like it should.

While I dig into The Bread Baker’s Apprentice thanks to my knowledgeable food-friend Jon, I thought it would be good to give my yeast a break and embrace the changing season. What a tremendously good idea that turned out to be. Instead of tragic sunken loaves of bread, I have spicy, sultry, mysterious Triple-Ginger Gingerbread for your rainy day pleasure.

I should also mention the host kitchen may be the most beautiful kitchen I’ve seen in real life. I’m puppy-sitting for my friend Laura today and I just couldn’t help baking. Look at this place.

Laura's Kitchen

I’m pretty sure the granite is taken directly from a dragon’s den.

Dragon Granite

Also: it takes like a solid hour for my kitchen to be useable. At least two until it’s photogenic. Laura’s kitchen just…looks like this. All the time. It’s like standing inside a magazine.

I just thought I’d explain now because once I start posting pictures you’ll start to stare at the gorgeous background and at least now you’ll know what you’re looking at. But enough ktchen-porn–onto the food!

Triple-Ginger Gingerbread

Adapted from Serious Eats

Ingredients
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (if pan greasing) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup diced cubed candied ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Note on the Ingredients

Triple Ginger Gingerbread SpicesThis recipe calls for a little spoons of a lot of spices. While you could probably leave out one of them, I wouldn’t. You can really taste the complexity. I highly recommend checking out the bulk bins at places like Whole Foods or coops (or Berkeley Bowl in my case). You can pick up small baggies of the spices instead of spending $15 on jars of spices you won’t use up. I bought enough of everything (except the ground ginger which I already had) to make 3-5 batches of this recipe for about $1.25.

Cream Cheese Sauce
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 16 oz (usually 2 packages) cream cheese at room temperature

Note on Cream Cheese Sauce

I was extremely unscientific with this part. I used half a pack of cream cheese and adjusted the ratio of powdered sugar and milk until it reached a consistency I liked. It is addictively delicious. Since I had Sunshine’s blessing, I just spooned on as much as I wanted and the whole batch lasted about 1/4 of the loaf (or 3 slices). To be on the safe side I quadrupled the quantity, but if you don’t think you’ll be eating 1/3 cup of sauce with each slice, you might get away with half the recipe here.

Triple Ginger Gingerbread Ingredients

Directions

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line long loaf pan with parchment paper and butter the sides. I didn’t have parchment paper, so I just went the old fashioned way and buttered and floured the pan.

Floured Loaf Pan Continue reading Triple-Ginger Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Sauce

Lessons in Baking Vol. 1 or Shit Real Bakers Already Know

A whole long weekend has passed and all I have to show is lots of not-good bread. I mean it’s edible. But it’s not good. …And in some cases it may not have been all that edible. In the hope that some of my baking-inclined readers might be able to dole out some advice and to prevent similar mistakes, here’s a rundown of What Went Wrong This Week (another potential title for this post).

Lessons from Garlic-Rosemary Buns
Inside is better than outside.

Clearly not enough garlicAgainst my garlic-loving inclinations, I followed a version of a garlic-rosemary bread recipe that calls for the garlic and rosemary to be brushed on the outside of each bun. I reasoned with myself. Perhaps the strong garlic flavor and impossible-to-wash-off rosemary scent will penetrate the bun during the magical baking process. The recipe was on a BBC website and the ingredients were listed by weight–surely such precision wouldn’t be wrong about something as important as the flavor!

Utter nonsense. You can be bet version two is going to be literally rolling in garlic.

Baking temperature matters. A lot.

Garlic Rosemary Buns in the OvenI made a lot of changes to the original recipes I found. Mostly because they all seemed to call for a more rustic bread, and when I picture Garlic Rosemary Buns, I always think of something soft and moist and begging to be gobbled by the half dozen (then regretted–but not enough to prevent it from happening again). You just can’t do that with rustic bread which is designed to withstand rain and the Middle Ages and the French. As a result, the make up of the flour mixture changed pretty significantly, but I kept the baking temperature for a bread that is basically all crust. Instead of soft, fragrant bread pillows I ended up with dry flour cakes.

Garlic Rosemary Buns Crust
It’s like a bad dinner roll.

Lessons from Jamdandies: Attempt II

Believe it or not, but the fact that Jamdandies are mentioned in this post means there will be a third attempt. I am beginning to think I should have picked the larger bag of flour at Costco. I’m going to be one of those people that has to use those flatbeds because all her stuff can’t fit into an over-sized cart. Like a business or someone building a shed at Home Depot.

Jam is awesome.
Cookie Moat Jamdandies
If I wanted a jam-less bite of cookie I’d eat shortbread.

Continue reading Lessons in Baking Vol. 1 or Shit Real Bakers Already Know