Food and Food: Edmonton and Food: Home Cookin'16 Dec 2009 12:12 am

I’ve been crazy for gingerbread this year, and have been experimenting with different gingerbread recipes for a month.

Gingerbread

gingerbread

The best has been one that is molasses-y but not too much so, kind of crumby yet moist and very spicy, with both ginger powder and freshly grated ginger root. I’m about to make another batch tomorrow, this time with ginger chunks from Bulk Barn.

This opened the flood gates and I started obsessing over ginger flavours. Before I knew it, I was trying anything remotely ginger related. Gingerbread lattes at Starbucks (ho hum, kind of thin). Gingerbread snap cookies (meh.) Then, finally a break through:

Real ginger beer by Crabbie’s

crabbies ginger beer

Summer? We drank this the day it was -46C in Edmonton. No ice though.

crabbies ginger beer

This is an awesome alcoholic beverage by the way. I got it at Sherbrooke Liquor, when they were out of the newest obsession in the house, a beer called Route Des Épices (Ale Rousse Au Poivre) by Quebec’s Dieu Du Ciel (it’s spicy. VERY spicy.) $6 for a reasonable serving, and this was tart, spicy and light. It’s 4%.

Then, because it was so cold I wanted to find a way to keep warm. I made hot chocolate from scratch. That is to say…

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

I attended a Christmas party a number of years ago where I remember exactly three things: we watched a Lord of the Ring marathon, we had souffles but the host was perturbed they fell, and there was some wicked home made hot chocolate with Screech in it.

What’s Screech? Why it’s a rum endemic to Newfoundland. Mike’s mom brought some back when she visited the east coast a few months ago. I’ve been dying to use it.

gingerbread screech hot chocolate
Real cinnamon reserved for special occasions

gingerbread screech hot chocolate
Chocolate “paste”

gingerbread screech hot chocolate
(This pot is my Gran’s. It is great for heating milk in, as it never burns, and stays hot a long time. She made it for making cream of wheat in.)

gingerbread screech hot chocolate

I edited my dad’s recipe for hot chocolate and came up with an awesome Gingerbread modification.

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 2 portions of 1/4 cup heavy cream (i.e., whipping cream. My dad uses evaporated milk)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of good-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder (I have started using Ghirardelli, but Valrhona or even Fry’s are good)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 0.5-1 ounce Screech (or any rum. Can also be omitted entirely.)
  • stalk of ginger root, peeled and cut into slices
  • half stick of cinnamon
  • dash of ginger powder and cinnamon
  • whole cloves or nutmeg, if you have them

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, pour in milk and 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Add ginger root, cinnamon and any other spices you desire, such as cloves and nutmeg. Let just come to a simmer, and drop heat until milk gets very hot and steeps in spices, 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine cocoa, sugar, dash of ginger powder and cinnamon, vanilla, rum and 1/4 cup of whipping cream with a whisk. It will get very pasty, so add milk or water to thin slightly and incorporate.

When milk has steeped, whisk in chocolate mixture until it has dissolved. Strain into a cup, over marshmallows or with fresh whipped cream on top.

This recipe is not too sweet, very spicy and highly drinkable. I don’t know how well it scales up, as I have only made two servings at a time of it. It’s quite rich.

Finally, at Duchess last week I saw one of their seasonal items:

Gingerbread macarons.

duchess gingerbread macaron

I have nothing to say other than: they’re great. Just like everything else they make.

Finally, at work a few weeks ago, we had to photograph some products from local business Beardog Cafe. One of their products smelled so good it was all I could do to not scarf it down as I shot it: Raven’s Gingerbread.

However, it’s for your four-legged friend. All-natural, and some pretty cute packaging, too.

gingerbread dog treats beardog cafe
Do you have any favourite ginger treats?

3 Responses to “’tis the season: ginger zinger”

  1. on 17 Dec 2009 at 9:52 am habanerogal

    I am crazy for the gingerbread loaf that Starbucks does but I make my own version of it at home. I just adore all of the “winter spices”

  2. on 18 Dec 2009 at 11:23 am Laura

    My grandfather was born and raised in Grenada and he eats something along the lines of 10 pieces of candied ginger a day, just straight up. Genetically, there was no chance I was going to be able to avoid liking it.
    My mom and dad actually just got back from taken them there and brought me some real cinnamon — what kinds of things do you save it for?
    I haven’t had the Duchess gingerbread macaron yet, is it delicious?

  3. on 19 Dec 2009 at 12:47 pm kelly

    Habanerogal: When looking for gingerbread recipes, I found MANY knock off “make at home” recipes for Starbucks gingerbread. I heard the secret ingredient is chai! You should try making some.

    Laura: You’ve got the good shit, man. I suggest cinnamon cookies, curries with cinnamon in them and hot toddies. So envious!