Living and Lifestyle

Food: Gingerbread makes amazing French toast

Gingerbread (Renee Kohlman photo)

Saskatoon

It’s not the holidays around my house until the smell of gingerbread is wafting about. I like to whip up loaves of gingerbread to have on hand for drop-in guests (it’s bound to happen at least once!) and for quick and delicious desserts. Add some salted caramel sauce and molasses whipped cream for a sensational, seasonal end to a holiday gathering. 

If you happen to have any slices of gingerbread leftover, they also make great French toast. Yes, that’s right! Gingerbread French toast is a thing.  Top each serving with leftover salted caramel sauce, fresh fruit and your dessert has turned into brunch. Apparently calories don’t count in December, so go ahead and have molasses whipped cream on the French toast, too. 

To spice up my gingerbread, I added not only ground ginger, but a good grating of the fresh stuff as well. The zest of an orange adds lovely citrus notes, and a generous pinch of ground black pepper makes you go “hmmmmmm something gorgeous is in here, but I’m not sure what.” Pumpkin purée adds moisture without adding extra fat, and it wouldn’t be gingerbread without a good glob or two of molasses. 

The gingerbread has wonderful, tender crust and smells like magic when you take it out of the oven. Versatile for dessert or brunch, it’s the little loaf that keeps on giving. Who doesn’t need that, especially at Christmas? Speaking of giving, a loaf of gingerbread also makes a terrific hostess gift.  Just wrap in pretty paper, tie with a bow, and attach a recipe card for the French Toast. If you really love this hostess, add a jar of salted caramel sauce, too.

 

Orange Spice  Gingerbread with Salted Caramel Sauce and Molasses Whipped Cream

Gingerbread:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp salt

⅛ tsp ground cloves

⅛ tsp ground black pepper (optional)

½ cup pumpkin purée

½ cup butter, melted

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup fancy molasses

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger root

2 tsp orange zest

2 large eggs, beaten

2 Tbsp water

 

Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350F and place a rack in the centre of the oven. 

In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices and baking soda. Mix well. In another large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. 

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, just until they are combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. 

Let the loaf cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove it from the pan and let it cool completely before slicing. Makes eight to 10 slices.   

 

Salted Caramel:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 ¼ cups whipping cream

2 tsp flaky salt, such as Maldon

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

 

Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally until it starts to melt. Stop stirring and let the sugar cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until it’s dark amber, about 7-9 minutes. Be sure not to burn the sugar. 

Meanwhile, heat 1 ¼ cups of the whipping cream in a small saucepan until bubbles start to form on the sides of the pot. 

When the sugar is dark amber, remove the pot from the heat and gradually pour the hot cream to the hot sugar – be careful as a large waft of steam will come off of sugar. Put the pot back on medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the caramel cooks down and is smooth. 

Pour the caramel into a medium bowl, stir in the salt and vanilla. Let it come to room temperature. 

Makes about 1 ½ cups of caramel. Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

 

Molasses Whipped Cream

1 ½ cups whipping cream

1 Tbsp molasses

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat together the whipping cream and molasses until firm peaks form. Serve with the gingerbread and salted caramel sauce.  


Gingerbread French toast (Renee Kohlman photo)

Saskatoon

Orange Spice Gingerbread French Toast

1 large egg

½ cup plus 2 Tbsp whole milk

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2-3 Tbsp butter

4 slices of Orange Spice Gingerbread

 

Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Whisk in the milk, sugar and vanilla. 

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 

Dip the slices of gingerbread into the egg mixture, making sure both sides are well soaked. 

Place the slices into the hot skillet and cook for a few minutes on each side, until golden. Turn down the heat if the French toast is getting too brown too fast. 

Serve with fresh fruit, salted caramel sauce (or maple syrup), and molasses whipped cream. 

 

 

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