There are a lot of holiday desserts from my childhood. The first one that always comes to mind this time of year is gingerbread. Fresh out of the oven and still warm enough to melt a bit of butter that you have spread on a slice. I have tweaked our family recipe over the years. Adapting it to be gluten free. Adding in more spices and the candied ginger. I would add in slivered almonds and golden raisins but I know that would not appeal to my kids.
Gluten Free Gingerbread
Preheat your oven to 35o
In a large bowl add the following dry ingredients…
1/2 cup of almond flour
1/2 cup of buckwheat or sorghum flour
1/2 cup of brown rice flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
`1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp of ground cardamon
1/2 tsp of ground star anise
1/4 tsp of ground cloves
1/4 tsp of ground allspice
1 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
In a smaller bowl cream together…….
1/2 cup of butter/shortening/substitute
1/4 cup of brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup of molasses
1/2 tsp of almond extract
Mix this into the ingredients in you dry bowl, then add in……
1/4-1/2 cup of boiling hot water
Mix well until you have something resembling a standard cake batter.
Fold in 1/4 cup crystalized ginger finely chopped.
Grease a 9 inch square pyrex or round cake tin.
Pour in your batter and level.
Bake for 30 minutes until test stick come out clean
Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve with butter, whipping cream or vanilla ice cream.
Zingiber is the aromatic rootstock of a perennial plant that grows in the tropics. It is very common and easy to find in most grocery stores worldwide. It can be cultivated or found in the wild. The rootstock is thick, fibrous, and light tan colored. It grows in a finger like/branched formation. As it creeps the root can become quite large, often palm sized. Ginger produces a simple stem wrapped by layers of long, narrow, lance shaped, alternate arranged leaves. It can grow almost four feet high. As the green leaves mature and separate from the stem they can measure 6-12 inches long . Sterile yellow/white flowers with purple streaks grow on short dense spikes. You will often see images for “red ginger”confused with Zingiber officinale. They are not the same plant. Ginger likes partial shade and moist, fertile soil.
Ginger has a “heating action”. It stimulates digestion, perspiration, and breastmilk production. Historically this herb has been used internally to treat colic, gas, bloating, indigestion, nausea/morning sickness, suppressed menstruation, the flu, headache, sore throat, laryngitis, vertigo, blot clots, colds, cough, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, poor circulation and heart disease. Many herbalists use it to reduce inflammation. Fresh ginger being preferred for respiratory conditions and dried ginger for digestive complaints. Externally this plant has been used to treat, pain, migraines, chills, muscle soreness, congestion, asthma, athletes foot, arthritic joints, and weak kidneys.
Energetics:pungent, sweet, bitter, warm, dry
Contraindications:ulcers, acid stomach, inflammatory/heat conditions. Anticoagulant drugs like Coumadin or aspirin. Although commonly used for morning sickness, use only very low doses in pregnancy. Do not use during childbirth, especially when there is a risk of heavy bleeding.