February 23rd, 2017

From Our Table: ‘Tis the season to be jolly, and for gingerbread


By Medicine Hat News on December 6, 2016.

This gingerbread loaf, iced and topped with candied ginger, is extremely moist and flavourful. --Submitted Photo

I really hope you are jolly this Christmas season. Now that we have snow it really feels like Christmas! Not so fun for driving but it really does look pretty. It can stay until Jan. 2 then it can go away until next Christmas.

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year to get together with family and friends. We’ve already had the privilege of doing this at a couple Christmas parties and it is so fun.

This is also our first year that all of our boys are away at university so getting together as a family at Christmas is especially wonderful. They are actually looking forward to it almost as much as we are. They also have come to realize how precious time together as a family is now that they are getting older. Have I mentioned how fast they grow up?

Christmas also means delicious baked treats will be plentiful in many homes. One of the staples with Christmas baking is gingerbread. There are so many gingerbread options but this week I decided to share two of my favourite recipes. Gingerbread cookies and Christmas just go hand in hand. This recipe is quite traditional and makes a lot so you will have plenty to eat and possibly some to share.

The gingerbread loaf recipe is extremely moist and flavourful. It is delicious on its own but iced and topped with candied ginger it’s a succulent sweet treat. The orange extract in the cream cheese icing really gives it a just a hint of mouthwatering flavour.

The gingerbread cookies in a colourful container or Christmas tin would make a terrific treat to share with neighbours or friends. The gingerbread loaf could be carefully placed in a decorative cellophane Christmas bag and topped with a ribbon or bow to give as a gift to someone special in your world.

Of course once you taste them both you may decide they should just stay at home!

Enjoy this spectacular season everyone.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

GINGERBREAD LOAF

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups pureed pumpkin

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp ginger

1 Tbsp cinnamon

2 tsp cloves

2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease and flour two loaf pans.

2. Cream butter with sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and pureed pumpkin and mix well.

3. In a medium size bowl combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt, mix well then add to pumpkin mixture and mix until just combined.

4. Divide equally into two loaf pans and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted I centre comes out clean.

5. Cool in pan for at least 15 minutes then remove onto a cooling rack.

Optional: Can ice with cream cheese icing

1 package cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp orange extract

2 1/2 cups icing sugar.

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy then add the vanilla and orange extract. Slowly add the icing sugar and beat well after each addition.

Beat until smooth and creamy.

Spread a layer onto the gingerbread loaf and top with candied pieces of ginger.

 

GINGERBREAD COOKIES

1 1/2 cups butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup molasses

5 cups flour

4 tsp baking soda

4 tsp ginger

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1. Cream butter then add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs and molasses and beat well.

2. In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt.

3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix well.

4. Shape dough into one-inch balls and roll in sugar. The large sugar crystals look nice when you use them. It gives the cookies sparkle.

5. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.

6. Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes


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