Gingerbread: a second fling.

June 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

Dark Brown Sugar is not in the best mood. Molasses has ignored her for almost three months. They had a fling back in March, but maybe he just lost interest? Was she too easy? Like, it turned out great, and the result was truly magnificent…so why hadn’t they talked for so long? That’s it, Brown Sugar says to herself. She turns around and looks at Molasses, who’s facing the opposite direction at the other end of the shelf. Oh well. Here’s to being assertive.

BS: Hey, Mollass! It’s been a long time, huh?

Molasses slowly rotates himself to face her.

M: What? Oh, hi. Errm….yeah, I guess it has. How, uh, are you?
BS: Oh, you know, just chillin’ n’ killin’.
M: That’s cool…

Silence.

BS: Ok, look. I don’t get it. That gingerbread we made a few months ago was great. I don’t understand what happened. Did I do something wrong? Why’ve you been ignoring me?
M: …
BS: Hello?! Get out of my face forever or express yourself now. RUDE.
M: Um…look, Sugie, I um…I…I don’t know how to…uh…I… I went with your sister! Light Brown Sugar. I mean, she made me. It was her fault. I…really…I had no choice…
BS: …
M: I’m sorry. What we had was great. I didn’t mean to ruin it.
BS: [shouting hysterically] Well, you can take your cloyingly sweet, cheating self and stick –

Suddenly, the cabinet doors swing open and the daylight streams in. Two hands reach in (FoodGirl’s) and simultaneously scoop up Molasses and Brown Sugar. The two ex-lovers look at each other while still in mid-air.

BS: You totally don’t deserve this, but I guess I’ll have to give you another chance.
M: I promise I won’t ever-
BS: Just shut up.
M: I promise I’ll make it up to you. I’ll make it good.

And oh, was it good.

3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup blackstrap molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1  teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup dark brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and lightly flour a cupcake or muffin pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Stir in egg, followed by molasses.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, spices, and salt. Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout.
  4. Add dry to wet ingredients, mixing well. Add hot water and continue to mix until batter is consistent.
  5. Pour batter into muffin tins and sprinkle tops with brown sugar.
  6. Bake for about twenty minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Test that they’re done by sticking a knife into muffin center. Knife should come out almost clean.

adapted from an old-fashioned gingerbread loaf recipe at allrecipes.

Black Bottom Coconut Bars and the Art of Baking the Gift

June 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

When I don’t know what to give, I bake. Be it a distant friend’s birthday fiesta or a dinner party or whatnot, concocting something delicious seems a more personal present than the usual bottle of wine. Does he/she seem like a chocolate chugger? A vanilla villain? A peanut butter lover? Once I find out, I stir, pour, and mix away until the doing’s done and then wrap it in wax paper, then cellophane, then tissue paper, and tie ‘er up with a funky ribbon. So much sweeter than a boring bottle o’ tipsy. And always creates magic.

These BBC bars are so gooey. The textures of the crispy topping, creamy center, and crunchy nutty bottom are such a magnificent combo. I’m graduating college in less than a week (eek!) and made these for an intimate goodbye dinner among friends. Baked them the morning of, tied each bar up in red wrapping paper and blue ribbon, and gave them out at the end. Thanks, BBC bars. You were loved.

Choco-Crust
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter + more for greasing pan
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Coconut Filling
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package sweetened shredded coconut (7 ounces)

  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving a slight overhang; butter bottom and sides of foil.
  2. Heat butter on stove top or in microwave. In a bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, and salt. Whisk. While stirring, add egg, cocoa, and flour. Continue to mix until smooth. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
  3. Bake about 12 minutes, or until just set.
  4. While bottom cools, prepare filling: in a clean bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Mix. Gently fold in flour, followed by coconut (BUT set aside 1/2 cup for later).
  5. Drop globs of coconut topping onto crust and, with moistened fingers or a wet spoon, smooth until evenly distributed.
  6. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup coconut and bake in oven for 25 minutes, or until knife comes out almost completely clean.
  7. Cool in pan before lifting out and cutting into squares.

adapted from always amazing Martha.

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