That’s right, I’m still alive, you can call off the search party. I have no idea where the month of December has gone, but it has obviously not been spent posting all the delicious things I’ve been cooking; sorry (I feel a New Year’s resolution coming on). This has become my favourite Christmas treat over the last few years; I think Katie made them the year my first daughter was born (almost 6 years ago) and the next year I stole the recipe and have made them every year since. So instead of boring you with the new stuff I tried, I thought I would go for an old(ish) favourite. The recipe, I believe, came out of a Bon Apetit magazine, but don’t quote me on that. They are the perfect gingerbread – somewhere between cookie and cake, just the right amount of spice, and almost impossible to wreck. And, the best way to eat them, as you can see, is with good vanilla ice cream and totally evil drunken sauce (or good quality caramel sauce for the kids and non boozy folks out there). Try them, you won’t regret it. Unless you don’t like gingerbread, in which case, skip it.
2 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each, nutmeg and ground cloves
1/2 tsp each, baking soda and salt
10 Tbsp butter, room temp
3/4 packed dark brown sugar
7 Tbsp white sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1/4 cup light (fancy) molasses
1. Preheat oven to 350 and butter and flour a rimmed cookie sheet (like you would for a loaf pan).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour through salt). In a large bowl, using your electric mixer (a stand mixer would be great here), beat together butter, brown sugar and 6 Tbsp white sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in molasses. Add dry ingredients, and beat just to blend.
3. Here’s the tricky part; spread batter/dough evenly into the pan. I’m not being facetious; this is a serious pain in the butt. Every year it makes me crazy, but last year we decided to flour our hands (repeatedly) and press it out, which seems to work the best. The dough is somewhere between cake batter and cookie dough and its very sticky and resistant to spreading. Alternately, I would try a spatula sprayed with cooking spray.
4. If you used flour to press it out, skip this step, but otherwise, sift 2 Tbsp flour over the top of the bars. Then sprinkle with the remaining Tbsp of sugar (I cut this back from 2 Tbsp and it’s still lots; do it to your taste).
5. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 21 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack, then slice and remove. I slice it big (into about 15-18 bars) for dessert as shown, or smaller (into 24-28) to put on a plate of squares. These freeze beautifully if you are trying to plan ahead.