Posts Tagged ‘Ginger’

Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulde Speculaas from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond paste and dough! Delicious!

Come the 1st of every month, I am like a little kid at Christmas time. That is the day in which we find out our next Daring Bakers’ challenge!  I really enjoy these challenges. Most of them have been desserts that I have never heard of, or never made, and that is exciting. This month was no different!

The spices that are used in speculaas, remind me of spices that go into pfeffernuesse cookies or gingerbread; cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Then for a surprise, white pepper, cardamom, and corriander. Note: the recipe provided also included mace, but it is a spice I have never used, so I omitted it from my spice mixture. Francijn has wonderful directions on how to make this delicious pastry so I am going to direct you here, in order to get the recipe.

003 Gevulde Speculaas

Gevulde Speculaas

One Year Ago: Daring Bakers’ Basic Biscuits

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November 21st is National Gingerbread Day!

Gingerbread is a sweet food product flavored with ginger and typically using honey or molasses (treacle) rather than just sugar. Gingerbread foods vary, ranging from a soft, moist loaf cake to something close to a ginger biscuit. The different types likely share a common origin.
The first documented trade of gingerbread biscuits dates to the 16th century, where they were sold in monasteries, pharmacies and town square farmers’ markets. One hundred years later the town of Market Drayton in ShropshireUK became known for its gingerbread, as is proudly displayed on their town’s welcome sign. The first recorded mention of gingerbread being baked in the town dates back to 1793; however, it was probably made earlier, as ginger was stocked in high street businesses from the 1640s. Gingerbread became widely available in the 18th century.” (Source)

While my first thought of gingerbread went to gingerbread men and gingerbread houses, I knew I wanted to make a soft gingerbread dessert. Note: I have never made a gingerbread house. I need to make a gingerbread house! I did some searching and found a recipe for gingerbread cupcakes. Ok, now what kind of frosting? I knew a cream cheese frosting would be really good, but that wasn’t thrilling me. I decided on a salted caramel frosting. The combination is wonderful! The cupcakes are a delight- rich with molasses and spices, while the frosting has a little hint of salt that hits your tongue, followed by the sweetness of the caramel. Don’t be too surprised when I post this combination in other recipes!

One Year Ago: Apple Cider Bread Pudding

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart
Makes 18 cupcakes

1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup molasses
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Salted Caramel:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
3 tablespoons milk
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line 18 muffin cups with liners. Set aside.

In a small heat-safe bowl, whisk together the boiling water and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, spices, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the molasses and the water/baking soda mixture, and mix well. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add in the flour mixture. Add in the eggs and mix until well combined. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the pan onto cooling racks and let cool completely.

To make the salted caramel sauce:
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, or is a medium brown color. Note: you will usually see the color start to change in the center of the pan. Once you see that happening, start to carefully swirl the pan the make sure the sugar mixture doesn’t burn in the center.
Once the mixture has turned medium brown, remove from the heat and add in the butter. Carefully stir until the butter has melted, then add in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble and boil when the cream is added, so be careful and don’t lean directly over the pan. Return the pan to the heat, this time over low, and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. Once it is smooth, remove from the heat and add in the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Let cool completely before using it in the frosting. Note: The caramel sauce can be refrigerated until needed. Use any leftover sauce over ice cream or apple pie!

To make the frosting:
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and salted caramel sauce. Add in the powdered sugar, alternating it with the milk. Mix until you have the frosting consistency you like (adding more powdered sugar or milk to get the consistency you prefer).

To finish the cupcakes:
Once the cupcakes are cool, frost the cupcakes. Note: I used a pastry bag with a star tip. Once the cupcakes are frosted, drizzle on additional salted caramel sauce, if desired. Enjoy!

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I buy my pumpkin in the large cans (29 oz.), so sometimes I have pumpkin left over from a recipe. I was able to use this can of pumpkin for 3 recipes! That means lots of yummy pumpkin treats!

I found this recipe for Pumpkin Apple Gingerbread Cake and I thought it sounded like a nice Fall dessert. However, I made a few changes. I don’t have pumpkin pie spice, so I added the individual spices (yeah, I would much rather have 4 jars of spices, instead of 1!!). Also, I was too lazy to peel and grate an apple, so I left that out. And I changed the hard sauce for a ginger glaze. (Just a few changes!)

I really enjoyed the taste of this. I think the pumpkin and gingerbread works well together- neither one over-powered the other. This would be great for dessert or at a brunch. You can serve this while it is still warm, or serve it after it has cooled completely. I let it cool just long enough to take pictures, then I dove right in (breakfast!)!!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Bundt Cake
Adapted from Very Best Baking
Prep time: 12 minutes     Bake time: 55-60 minutes

3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
15 oz. can of pumpkin (not quite 2 cups)
4 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1/4 cup whipping cream

Ginger Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 1/2 – 3 tablespoons whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 or 12 cup bundt pan*. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry cake ingredients. Add in the pumpkin, eggs, molasses, butter, and whipping cream. Stir until everything is well combined. Pour into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the toothpick test comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

To make the ginger glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and ginger. Slowly stir in the heavy cream, starting with 2 tablespoons. Add additional heavy cream to get the spreading/pouring consistency you prefer (I left mine a little thick and spread it on the cake before it cooled).

After 10 minutes, invert the cake onto a serving plate and spread/pour on the ginger glaze. Serve while warm or let cool completely. Enjoy!

*Note: the original recipe calls for a 12 cup bundt pan. Mine is a 10 cup- it works, the baked cake will just dome up a little instead of having a flat bottom. If you have a 10 cup bundt pan and want a flat bottom to the cake, I suggest filling it only two-thirds of the way full and use the extra batter for cupcakes (just make sure to adjust your baking time- both for the bundt cake and the cupcakes!).


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As in hooray! Come on people, behave yourselves!

We celebrated Nick’s birthday the other day, and I asked him what I could bake for him. “You know what I like” was his response.
Now on one hand, this makes things easy. I can choose basically whatever I want to make. On the other hand, this makes things more difficult. There are so many things I could make! I was given no direction (like- “I’d really like a cheesecake”, or “brownies would be great”).


One thing I know he REALLY likes, is cream cheese frosting. So I decided whatever I made, I had to incorporate that. Spice cake and carrot cake both work well with cream cheese frosting, so I decided to make something similar. Apple Spice Whoopie Pies. A slightly spicy batter with grated apples mixed in. I used cake flour instead of all-purpose flour, in order to achieve a more cake-like texture. I also added vanilla bean paste to the frosting for a little more added flavor. The whoopie pies are a delightful combination of flavors, and they were an enjoyable dessert for Nick’s birthday!

Apple Spice Whoopie Pies (with a cream cheese filling)
Makes: 12 whoopie pies
Prep time: 20 minutes     Bake time: 12-13 minutes

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded apple, packed
3 cups cake flour
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, molasses, and brown sugar. Cream these items together. Add in eggs and stir to combine. Add in the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir in the grated apple (Note: I used 2 small apples and peeled them before shredding with a box grater. If you don’t have a grater, chop up the apples into very small pieces). Stir in the cake flour until just combined.
Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Don’t under-bake!
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, move to cooling racks and let cool completely.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the vanilla bean paste (you can substitute vanilla extract), then slowly add in the powdered sugar. Beat the mixture until smooth.

Once the whoopies/cake-cookies/cookie-cakes :) are completely cooled, spoon the cream cheese filling onto the bottoms of 12, then top with the remaining 12. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Dough- hmmm, not the prettiest picture!

Cream cheese frosting!

Question(s) of the day: What’s your favorite flavor of whoopie pie? What’s your favorite birthday dessert?

Made with love, not calories!

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Welcome to day 6 of the 12 days of Christmas cookies!

Sweet, spicy molasses cookies!

I am not a lover of spices- much to Nick’s chagrin. When he’s making dinner, he uses only salt and pepper, then after I have made my plate, he adds spices to his portion!

However, there are some spices I do like: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger. Maybe I like these because they are usually found in recipes with lots of sugar! Whatever the reason, these 4 spices come out of my cupboards a little more often during the colder months.

One such recipe that you will find them in, are molasses cookies.

Sweet, spicy molasses cookies! (Oops, I already said that) Well, I guess it just bears repeating! And eating!

Molasses Cookies
Makes: 24 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes     Bake time: 13 minutes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 3/4 cups flour
Additional sugar for sprinkling on top, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper- set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugars. Add in the molasses and eggs- stirring until well combined. Stir in the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Add in the flour and mix well. Using a large-sized ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, leaving about 3 inches between each cookie (here is where you would sprinkle on the additional sugar, if you are using). Bake for 12-13 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove cookies from the parchment paper and move onto cooling racks. Cool completely. Enjoy!

What cookies do you bake for Christmas?

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