First, I'd like to thank all the people who've been posting about gingerbread, this recipe in particular. My first attempt, long ago (decades) and far away, was utterly inedible. (Lesson learned: USE FRESH SPICES!) Since tasting the gingerbread cake from Dancing Deer a few years ago, I've been wanting to try again, but hadn't gotten the nerve until reading your posts.
So last week, I assembled all the (FRESH) ingredients and baked my first batch of gingerbread according to this recipe on Epicurious:
I used a bottle of Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Grandma's Yellow Label (Original) Molasses, and, in place of brown sugar, dark Philippine muscovado. I also used a Nordic Ware mini-bundt tray (6 minis) sprayed with TJ's baking spray and a parchment-lined loaf pan.
The results were everything I had hoped for! Spicy, but not exessively so, fairly dense, but tender, with a rich, multi-layered molasses flavor. (Dark muscovado is so good I have to keep myself from eating it straight). The only thing that could make the cake better is a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of each slice.
As another poster mentioned, the batter is thin--probably too thin to add the candied ginger chips I had been contemplating until I realized they would sink to the bottom of the pan. And the baking spray is certainly not optional: a thin coating of cake did remain in the mini bundt pans, but since scraping up the residue left me with a delicious, chewy gingerbread "candy," I'm not complaining. I lined the loaf pan with parchment, so no problem there.
The mini-bundts cooked up very fast--around 20 minutes-- and baked very evenly. But the loaf took over an hour. The sides were kind of dry by the time the middle had set. I wonder whether this had anything to do with the fizz from the beer. Next time, I'm sticking to bundt pans for this recipe.
Speaking of beer fizz, the oatmeal stout I bought comes in 500ml bottles. I used the requisite 1 cup and transferred the balance to one of those European beer bottles with a lock-down ceramic cap. It's been over a week. Can I still use the beer for my next batch of gingerbread, or do I have to toss it?
Again, thank you fellow chowhounds, your recipes and suggestions are at least as good as, and certainly more reliable than, any cookbook in my collection!