Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Late Night at the Table with Ginger-Root

TableBread: Welcome everyone to our first edition of Late Night at the Table. This is where we will interview some of our favorite and unique ingredients in and around the kitchen. First up tonight is Mr. Ginger-Root. Welcome Mr. Ginger-Root and thank you for joining us tonight.

Ginger-Root: Oh please just call me Ginger my father’s name is Mr. Ginger-Root.

TableBread: No problem, Ginger. So tell us a little about yourself.

Ginger-Root: Well, I like to travel. I have cousins all over the world! My cousin in Greece, Ziggiberis, is funny and loves to talk philosophy. My other cousin in Jamaica is super hyper and perky, people usually like him the best out of all my other family members. I was born in Southern Asia and I look absolutely FABULOUS beside sushi!

TableBread: Wait a minute, hold the ladle! I thought you were just a dry spice, what is all this world travel and how does all this end up in a cookie?!?

Ginger-Root: {shaking head} I am not surprised that you feel this way but don’t feel bad a lot of people believe that we are so one-dimensional. I wish I knew the root that started all of this I would LOVE to rebury him!

Here’s the thing, we can spice up almost any dish but since you love baking we’ll focus on that. I know I learn better when you show me something so let’s do that. You can just call me the “Show me Root” {snicker} here is a breakfast treat that your family will surely enjoy:

Gingerbread Scones:

1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cold unsalted butter
Zest of 1 lemon

1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
½ cup buttermilk
2 ½ tablespoons unsulphured molasses
1 tsp pure vanilla extract Egg wash: 1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk or cream
Maple Glaze:½ cup sifted confectioners sugar
1 ½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 – 2 teaspoons milk or cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the lemon zest and dried cranberries, if using. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, molasses and vanilla and then add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 11/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 3 pie-shaped wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with some rolled oats.

Place the baking sheet inside another baking sheet to prevent the bottoms of the scones from over browning. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To Glaze: Mix together the glaze ingredients, adding more sugar or milk until you get the desired consistency. It needs to be thin enough that it can be drizzled over the tops of the cooled scones. With a spoon drizzle the glaze over the tops of the scones and let dry.

Makes 6 scones.

TableBread: WOW! Those tasted GREAT! Those cranberries really added a kick to the rolled oats!

Ginger-Root: Hey pal don’t forget the main star of that recipe! Jeez, but I’m glad you liked them. So you see, that is just one example. Do you like cakes?

TableBread: Do we like cakes?!? Of course, we love cakes! We enjoy them especially around the holidays when we’re searching for something quick to bring to party's or get-together.

Ginger-Root: Well, if you want something quick that looks great and tastes amazing then check out this cake recipe:

Gingerbread Cake:

2 cups (280 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams)
baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup 113 grams) unsalted
butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (108 grams) light brown
2 large
Zest of 1
1/2 cup (120 ml) unsulphured molasses
1 cup (240 ml) milk

Lemon Icing:

1 1/2 cups (150 grams) sifted confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar
2 - 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Garnish: (optional)

Whole toasted walnuts

Note: To prevent the molasses from sticking to the measuring cup, first spray the cup with a non stick vegetable spray (like Pam).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour a 9 inch (23 cm) cake pan with 2 inch (5 cm) sides. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves). Set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon zest and molasses and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients and milk, alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan. Let cool completely and frost with Lemon Icing. Garnish with whole toasted walnuts, if desired.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan.
(Tip: I use a springform pan when I can. This gives me the flexibility to get most of the cake out of the hot pan quickly so the cake doesn't steam itself on the sides and bottom and make it soggy. Using a springform pan also cools the cake faster in case you're in a hurry.)

Let cool completely and frost with Lemon Icing. Garnish with whole toasted walnuts, if desired.

For Lemon Icing: Mix together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice until smooth. (The icing should be thick but still spreadable.) Pour the icing onto the center of the cake and spread with an offset spatula. Some of the icing will drip down the sides of the cake.

This cake will keep for several days at room temperature. Can serve with softly whipped cream, lemon curd, or sauteed apples

Makes one - 9 inch (23 cm) cake.

TableBread: WOW AGAIN!!! Ginger you are just blowing us away with the complexities of the flavors. This cake is amazing and it looks like it took us a long time but really only about 30 minutes (not including cooking time of course).

Ginger-Root: Are you starting to understand now? We Ginger-Roots’ are about more than just little gingerbread men once a year. We can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just to have a nice spicy treat. I haven’t even scratched the surface of everything that’s available, I highly suggest you explore my family tree and see what you find.

TableBread: Ginger-Root thank you for joining us today and really educating us on your other family members and the versatility of your capabilities.

Ginger-Root: No problem I enjoyed being here but I know you all have one more question and your just afraid to ask so I will just give it to you. Here is a recipe for gingerbread men, check it out:

Gingerbread Men:

3 cups (420 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup (160 ml) unsulphured molasses

Note: To prevent the molasses from sticking to the measuring cup, first spray the cup with a non stick vegetable spray (like Pam).

Confectioners Frosting:

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons milk or light cream
Assorted food colors (if desired)

Gingerbread Men: In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.

Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside while you roll out the dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a gingerbread cutter to cut out the cookies. With an offset spatula lift the cut out cookies onto the baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1 inch (2.54 cm) apart. If you are hanging the cookies or using as gift tags, make a hole at the top of the cookies with a straw or end of a wooden skewer.

Bake for about 8 - 12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Small ones will take about 8 minutes, larger cookies will take about 12 minutes. They are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown.

Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minutes. When they are firm enough to move, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

If desired, you can press raisins, currants, or candies into the dough for eyes and buttons while the cookies are still warm. Otherwise, confectioners frosting can be used to decorate the cookies. You can also use the icing as a glue to attach candies, raisins, and sprinkles.

Confectioners Frosting: In an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beater. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk if too dry. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate the gingerbread men as desired.

Tint portions of frosting with desired food color (I use the paste food coloring that is available at cake decorating stores and party stores).

Makes about 3 dozen cookies depending on the size of cookie cutter used.

Store in an airtight container.

TableBread: We are sold, you are truly amazing and generous! My kids will love decorating these with different colored icings and we even cut some of them up into little trees. You know we are just going to HAVE to try to make a house with this.

Ginger-Root: Well, you’re on your own with the house, I was never really the organized architect, and I prefer just growing anyway that feels right.

TableBread: Ok, again Ginger thanks for joining us, and to our audience we thank you for stopping by and listening to our conversation with Ginger and seeing many of the versatile recipes that you too can make in a jiffy or with a little time on your hands. If you would like to see more recipes like these or explore more baking recipes in general pop on over to Joy of Baking.com and see what you can discover. Be sure to stop by and let us know how your experience with Ginger goes and join us next time where we will interview another commonly misunderstood kitchen resident.

Good night and good baking!


Alex said...

Great work on those -your house must have smelled sooo good! Ginger is a favorite of mine. Any chance you'll send me some of those??

ella said...

No wonder you like gingerbread cookies!

They look delicious. Even though your people are bald....:)

foodpluspolitics.com (sorry for that, for blogger has recently changed things to make it extremely difficult for a wordpress blogger to comment here.)

Pixie said...

Adore your gingerbread men, especially the one with the :( face!

Mer said...

I love this post. :0) What a fun "interview."