I love how Sarah always picks such versatile ingredients, but sometimes it leads to too many options. The first thing that I tried was an extra gingery marinade for banh mi. Then I thought about making ginger bubble tea, but I couldn't find the right tapioca pearls or big enough straw. Through all that, I couldn't get the idea of making gingerbread of out my head. Specifically, this gingerbread. The chilly (60 degree) weather has me craving warm and spicy things.
Plus, as much as I love my Kitchenaid mixer, I do adore a simple loaf cake that comes together without it. Just mix up your dry ingredient with the spices (ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon - the foundations of all great fall and winter baking), mix in the wet and bake. The only additional step is to first boil the molasses with the beer. Perhaps to help the molasses dissolve? I'm not convinced it does anything, so feel free to skip it. For the beer, I used Coffee Porter from local Real Ale Brewing Company. The remaining 4 oz of beer was quite tasty. So tasty, I wasn't paying attention when the pan boiled over (don't be like me). I also subbed in my vanilla-bean infused brown sugar for the regular brown sugar.
I decided to use fresh ginger instead of powdered so I doubled the amount called for. My favorite ginger trick is to put it in the freezer, even if you are going to use it soon. You can grate it straight from frozen without any of those pesky strings, just nice light powder like you see in the photo above. The ginger flavor came through the molasses to give just the right bite. As good as it was straight from the oven, the dense gingerbread was AMAZING the next day (okay, for breakfast) toasted with a tiny bit of butter.