(We’re thrilled that this recipe is being featured at Oprah.com’s roundup of holiday recipes for 2009. For more of our featured posts, visit Oprah.com today.)
Gluten-Free Gingerbread, adapted from November 2009 issue of Gourmet
Rain is hitting the windows on the door behind me so hard it sounds like little pellet guns full of pebbles are being fired at me. For days the wind has blown and blown, taking all the lovely yellow leaves with it. A few weeks ago, the heater was dusty in a corner of the room. Now, it’s on nearly every evening.
Time for gingerbread.
We’ve been cooking out of the November issue of Gourmet all week, instead of a cookbook. Tonight, I intended to tell you all about that experience, and why I love the magazine so much. But I find myself, at the end of the evening, still bereft of words. We’re leaving for a little trip in the morning, and I don’t want to rush this. So tonight, I’ll simply share this instead.
One of the dessert recipes in the November issue was a pumpkin gingerbread trifle. I don’t know about you, but trifles feel like summer to me. That and they have so many cups of custard (or in this case, pumpkin mousse) that eating the trifle would have kept me chained to the couch, in full nap form. So I passed it by when first deciding what to cook this week. Then, the rain started.
Gingerbread, with its densely layered spices and dark molasses promise, seemed just the thing. Since I know that Gourmet recipes work, I felt comfortable converting it to a gluten-free version. I sifted and sniffed the spices, waited for the butter to soften on the counter, dug out the molasses, and started mixing. An hour later, we were holding gingerbread in our hands.
I swear, Danny ate half the pan before bed last night. I mean, I helped too, but he really loved this stuff. “This is good, honey.” I just smiled. I love making him happy with baked goods.
This morning, in dim light, I tried to take a photograph of the gingerbread. Puffed high, light, but still spongy-soft like crackers soaked in milk, this gingerbread is the best I’ve ever made. But on a saucer, on a countertop, it looked like a square of dark on white. The dark skies outside didn’t help. Ready to give up, I brought it into our bedroom, on a table I like to shoot on sometimes. Before I could figure out the aperture, Little Bean grabbed a piece and started eating. I chased her around the room, laughing. Then stopped to look down and took this shot.
Good enough for Little Bean? We think it will be good enough for you too.
1/2 cup quinoa flour
3/4 cup teff flour
1/4 cup oat flour (please make sure this is made from certified gluten-free oats)
3/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup buttermilk (shake it up)
1/2 cup hot water
Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 13 by 9-inch pan. Lay down tin foil, with some overlapping on both sides of the pan. Butter the foil.
Combining the dry ingredients. Sift the quinoa flour, teff flour, oat flour, sweet rice flour, and tapioca flour into a large bowl. Add the xanthan and guar gums, the baking soda and powder, and the spices. Whisk together. Set aside.
Creaming the butter and sugars. Put the butter and sugars into the bowl of a stand mixer and run at medium speed until they are fluffy together, about 5 minutes. Plop in the eggs, one at a time, and run the mixer until the eggs are incorporated. Add the molasses and buttermilk. At this point, the dough will look speckled and perhaps even curdled. Don’t worry. This is what is supposed to happen.
Finishing the batter. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients about 1/2 cup at a time, slowing down to make sure it is incorporated before you add more. When you have finished with the flours, add the very hot water and mix for 1 minute more. It should all look lovely and toothsome now.
Baking the gingerbread. Spread the batter into the pan and even out the top with a rubber spatula. (Don’t worry if you have strange crevices and places that stick up like Alfalfa hair. That’s part of the charm.) Slide it in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool the gingerbread to just-warm in the pan. Remove the gingerbread on the foil, then slide it onto a cutting board. Cut into the desired-size slices.
Feeds about 10. (well, maybe less, depending on how grateful everyone is for gingerbread)