Sunday, December 25, 2011
What a lovely Christmas morning! We woke up, grabbed a bite to eat and headed out for an early morning bike ride along the beachfront malecon. It was cool and breezy but the sun was shining on the ocean and glistening on the sand midst the wave action. The typical hustle bustle of traffic and street-front cafes was non-existent. There were a few other early risers out to enjoy the peacefulness of the morning, either walking or riding, and we recognized a few friendly faces for exchanges of “feliz navidad”. The pelicans were soaring so gracefully overhead…I was reminded of my friend, Rosemary’s lovely fabric piece of the pelicans she created last year. There they were, just riding the currents, creating a beautiful image of peace.
I have really gotten into holiday baking this year. Thanks to my Quadra Island friend, Carol, I now have a new favorite recipe that I will save forever and SHARE on my blog. I have made 3 batches of these amazing gingerbread squares in the last week and have enjoyed taking little plates of them to my Mexican neighbors. They are not your typical Mexican taste, so I delivered them with a bit of hesitation, but reports are very positive…now I have to translate the recipe in Spanish, so they can make them too.
Gingerbread Squares (Soft on the inside with a crackly finish on top, these gingerbread squares are packed with dried fruit and warm, bold spices. They’re the ideal holiday treat with a pot of tea.)
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup molasses (in Mexico, ask for melado)
2 Tbs. brewed regular coffee
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ c. golden raisins
½ c. dried apricots, chopped
¼ - ½ c. candied ginger (I couldn’t find this in Mexico but was directed to the internet where I found out how to make it…easy!...from fresh ginger.)
2 Tbs. icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x9 pan (My buttered pan burnt a bit on the first batch…from then on I used parchment to line my pan and I was much happier.) Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, molasses, and coffee until well blended. Sift dry ingredients together, then stir into wet batter. Mix in fruit. Press batter (it will be sticky and stiff) into the prepared pan. Bake for approx.. 30 minutes, or until just starting to crackle on top. Let cool completely, then slice into squares. Dust with icing sugar if you choose.
If you like the flavor of ginger, you will LOVE these! Enjoy!