Wow Linda, the recipe you shared was perfection. I have tried countless recipes for Gingerbread over the years. Not wanting to have more than one version in my repetoire, I would find myself replacing previous versions with the latest incarnations that have been pleasing. All I can say is that I will not be trying any new recipes for Gingerbread, because your descriptions of the Karen Barker treat were right on the money.
Our preferred method of enjoying Gingerbread is for breakfast, served with mugs of Cafe Mocha. Nothing like a sugar rush combined with caffeine to start the day!
Thanks again for your post. To follow is your exact posting which included the recipe---for those who might want to give it a go!
Hopefully for Hannukah or Christmas someone in my sphere of friends/family might gift me with "Sweet Stuff" by Barker. If the other recipes are as good as her Gingerbread, there might be a great year of cooking ahead.
Following on the discussion of Carb Lover's intriguing Ginger Molasses cake, and from there the use of fresh ginger in baking, here is a paraphrase of an excellent gingerbread recipe. Looking at the list of ingredients you will think it's a dog's breakfast but the depth of flavor is far beyond that in any other gingerbread I've made (and I love to make gingerbread).
It is based on one in Sweet Stuff, by Karen Barker of The Magnolia Grill in Durham NC. The book is wonderful and the recipes (check out the goat cheese cheesecake) live up the the restaurant's motto, which is "Not Afraid of Flavor."
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t dry mustard
1/2 t kosher salt
1 stick (4 oz) butter
1 c sugar
2 T peeled, grated or very finely chopped fresh ginger
2 T very finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 c brewed coffee
2 t baking soda
1/2 c orange juice
Liberally butter a 9x9x2" square, or 10x2" round, cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter it too. Sift together the flour and spices, then stir or whisk in the salt.
In the bowl of your mixer, using the whisk attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and fresh and crystallized gingers. Add the eggs and mix. Add the oil and molasses and mix. Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to blend, scraping the bowl as necessary.
Heat coffee in a small saucepan until almost but not quite boiling. Add baking soda and stir to dissolve. It will fizz. Gradually add this to batter in the bowl. Add the OJ. Mix to combine. The batter will be very loose. I have found it useful to stir from the bottom just a bit with a rubber spatula as sometimes you get some molasses settling on the bottom of the bowl.
Pour into the buttered pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for an hour or a little bit more. When it is done, a tester will come out clean, but look for it to look set in the center and to start pulling away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely before serving. This is delicious with stewed or poached fruit on the side and a blob of whipped cream.