I love the smell of gingerbread, do you? To me, the very aroma encapsulates the smell of Christmas to me. Until last night, I have never been able to find a gingerbread recipe that was both easy and delicious unless it came out of a box LOL.
So without further delay, here it is courtesy of Family Fun:
I like to grate the nutmeg fresh—not because I’m fancy or because I think it makes such a big difference flavorwise, but because it’s such a pleasant thing to do, and it’s a little job I can give the kids. If you’ve never tried this, do: it involves buying whole nutmegs and a tiny grater, and it’s a small and worthwhile investment.
½ cup sugar
½ cup room-temperature butter
1 cup molasses
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt (I use one scant teaspoon of kosher salt)
¼ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger (the powdered spice)
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons baking soda
Heat the oven to 350, and butter and flour a lasagna-sized (10 by 14 inch) baking pan. Now, in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, followed by the molasses. Take a moment to stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure there’s no butter hiding out down there. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, spices, and salt (and by “sift together” I mean, of course, whisk together, because I’m lazy like that), then mix them into the batter until they just disappear. Now measure the boiling water (I do this right in the dirty molasses cup), add the baking soda to it, call your kids over to see the amazingly foaming mixture, explain the science of it (each crystal of baking soda actually contains a tiny, burping angel), and beat it gently into the batter, which will now seem incredibly runny, which is fine. Pour it into your prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is starting to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean or with crumbs on it, rather than ooky batter still. Serve with whipped cream, if you like, or plain. Yum.
Now I will warn you ladies... while the outcome of this recipe is fabulous it looks both disgusting and smells horrible during the preparation. It looked so bad that there were several times that I actually considered pouring it down the drain. And before you ask, yes, it is suppose to be incredibly watery before you bake it. But trust me, if you hang in there, follow the directions and just not look at it too long *lol*, you will be rewarded with "award winning gingerbread" as my family now refers to it and your house will be filled with that wonderful gingerbread smell as a bonus.
Top it off with your favorite frosting or mine:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
Beat butter with electric mixer at medium-high speed until creamy. gradually beat in sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla and 2 tbs. milk adding additional milk, if necessary.
Yield: 2-1/2 cups
(I will warn you, however, that your family will NEVER want the easy canned frosting again)
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