Monday, February 15, 2010

Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce and Very Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

     I recently gave up my Farmville obsession on Facebook, deciding I was wasting precious moments of my life clicking thousands of tiny plots of land that comprised my Utopian farm where crops rarely fail (only whither when you don't harvest them in time), chickens laid golden eggs that hatched into scarecrows, and I always received a fair price for my goods. Yeah, right. Instead, I now waste precious moments of my life reading food blog after food blog after food blog. Better, right?
     One of my favorites is called One Perfect Bite, and it's updated daily and has beautiful pictures and lots of great recipes. Last week there was a recipe for gingerbread with lemon sauce recipe that sounded so delicious. Whenever I visit my dad in Charlottesville and go to their local Whole Foods Market I like to pick up a square of their fresh-baked gingerbread. It's great....but gingerbread with LEMON SAUCE?! I had no idea that was a traditional combination. So yeah. Of course I had to try it. Her recipe is adapted from a Maine hunting camp recipe that used bacon fat (which she omitted), and my recipe is even slightlier (yep. new word.) adapted from hers, due to some ingredients I didn't have and was too lazy to drive a mile down the street and get. So shoot me.

You will need:
2 cups of Flour
1.5 tsp Baking Soda
.5 tsp Salt
.5 tsp each Ground Cloves, Dry Mustard, and Ground Pepper (trust me)
1 tsp each Ginger and Cinnamon
.5 cup Butter
.5 cup Brown sugar
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup Molasses
3/4 Cup Boiling Coffee

Yes. That is a lot of ingredients.
And this is what you will do with them:
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter and flour your baking vessel of choice. Make it a good choice.
2. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.
3. Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.
4. Add molasses and beat until smooth.
5. Starting with dry ingredients, add to egg mixture alternately with coffee and mix only until combined.
6. Bake until set and toothpick comes out clean.

Lemon Sauce
You will need:
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
.5 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tbsp Cornstarch
2/3 cup Water
1 tbsp Butter
1 Egg Yolk (optional, for creaminess and nice yellow color)

That is fewer ingredients.
And this is what you will do with them:
1. Put everything in a saucepan.
2. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly.
3. Cook for about a minute more, until thickened. Remove from heat.
4. Add egg yolk while whisking so you don't end up with lemony scrambled bits. Yum.

     So that's that. It's really good. I don't have a picture for this one, but the gingerbread on the One Perfect Bite blog looks about the same as mine did, just mentally add some yellow lemon sauce on top and subtract the lemon garnish because I am not that fancy.
     Ever notice how at the end of lots of recipes, it tells you how long your finished product will last for? It usually says something to the effect of, "Will keep in an airtight container for up to two days." Yeah, I'm calling bullshit on like 90% of those little blurbs. I love Martha Stewart and all (she always has these blurbs), but PLEASE! Why I am going to bake four dozen chocolate wafer whatevers if they're only going to be good for two days? No. Those cookies are going to last me a week, and I bet they are going to taste just fine. Thank you for indulging me in that rant. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
     I cleaned out one of the kitchen cabinets today because a.) it was not logically organized and was therefore driving me crazy and b.) I had no idea what was in there and thought it would be like a treasure hunt. Now that it's done I would hardly call it a treasure hunt, but whatever. I did find a box of oatmeal pancake mix that I purchased thinking it would be a healthy, tasty alternative to normal pancake mix. As it turns out, when the instructions posted on the back are followed, it makes really shitty pancakes. Therefore, Aunt Jemima has been reinstated in our kitchen, and this box has sat undisturbed for some time now. So I decided today that something had to be done with it. And seeing as the major ingredients are flour, sugar, and leavening, I'm guessing you can do a lot more with pancake mix than just make so-so pancakes. So I made super oatmealy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies! I followed the Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies recipe, just omitting the flour, baking soda, and salt, and subbing in the pancake mix. They turned out perfectly! I would cut back on the sugar a little next time, I neglected to factor in that there was sugar in the mix already, so these cookies are a little on the sweet side. But I'm not complaining.

     The last thought I have for right now is this: For someone who goes nuts when her cabinets don't make sense, I am a ridiculously disorganized baker. I am not a "mis en place" kind of girl. I just measure the ingredients out right before I throw them in the bowl. I think I just get so excited when I decide to bake something, that I can't put it off by carefully measuring every ingredient out into its own little bowl beforehand. Eff that. Occasionally I will gather the ingredients into one place before I start, but that's rare.

The end.

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