As the air turns crisp, we seem to long for comfort foods. Heavier, warmly-spiced fare that's often associated with the holidays. One of my favorites is traditional gingerbread. My first memory of it was when I was very small and visiting Colonial Williamsburg for Christmas with my family. One of the shops (Raleigh Tavern because I looked it up to see if it still existed) offered thick, chewy but crumbly cookies. They are served slightly "dusty" with flour. At any rate, I was less than 5 years old and remember little else of the trip. I believe the experience spurred my love for all things molasses: gingerbread, molasses cookies and gingersnaps.
My dilemma is that gingerbread isn't terribly good for you, like any dessert. So, I've been playing around with a version that I can make in a hurry, quick-bread style. Much faster than a rolled and cut cookie, the resulting recipe is healthy enough that I leave it out in my cake dome for the kids to enjoy at their discretion.
Take note: My version does contain a bit of dairy but you could eliminate it by substituting almond or coconut milk.
1 1/3 cup of skim milk (you can sub almond or coconut for a dairy-free recipe)
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup agave
1 large carrot, shredded
2 T apple cider vinegar
4 T melted coconut oil
4 T ground flaxmeal (this will work with your liquids to replace eggs)
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 t allspice
1/4 t salt
3 t cinnamon
2 t powdered ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar
-Preheat oven to 400 F and spray a bundt pan with non-stick spray (I use organic coconut spray).
-Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
-Pour into bundt pan and allow to "hang out" for 5 minutes to insure the flax meal is doing it's job.
-Bake on middle rack for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan before loosening the cake gently with a knife and inverting onto a plate.
PRO TIP: Serve warm with a small amount of fresh whipped cream to turn a slice from snack to dessert.
Elizabeth Morse cooks professionally, is an Advanced Master Gardener and lover of all things local.