It's a rainy day here in the Ohio River Valley, a perfect day for warm bread fresh from the oven.
Tasha Tudor's "receipt" for gingerbread is a near perfect rendition. One of my favorite cold weather treats, I was eager to try Tasha's version. She is about as famous for her holiday gingerbread as she is for the wonderful character cookies she made from the Tree bread version of her recipe. Without further ado, here is the recipe I made this morning based loosely on her version from The Tasha Tudor Cookbook. How my recipe differs is that I nearly double the spices and leave out the raisins. I also use a darker molasses for a deeper color to the bread. My pan was a deeper version that what Tasha calls for so I added 15 minutes to the bake time and watched it closely the last portion of the baking. Lastly, I used nearly all organic ingredients.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (you may microwave for 30 seconds)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg beaten
1 cup medium molasses (dark amber in color)
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9x9x2 inch baking pan liberally with non-stick oil, being especially careful to coat the bottom of the pan. You may wish to dust the bottom with a bit of flour as this recipe may stick due to the longer baking time.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. Add the egg and the molasses. Sift all the dry ingredients together and add them to the batter mixing well by hand. Add the hot water and hand blend until smooth.
Pour into baking pan and bake for 50 minutes paying close attention to the progress the last 15 minutes. The bread should be well done on the rim of the pan pulling away slightly from the edges. The center will appear nearly done and should rise about 1 to 2 inches. Insert a toothpick if uncertain as to center progress. At this stage of a clean toothpick but the center not quite complete, I baked for another 5 minutes to attain crustiness on the outer edges and thorough baking in the center.
Remove from oven and slide a blunt knife around edges to loosen bread. Turn out on to parchment paper and wrap in warm towel to cool a bit. Eat warm with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on top if you wish.
I hope you enjoy it!