Over time many dishes have been needlessly–and recklessly–consigned to specific holidays. How often do you roast a turkey, stuff eggs, or make a fruitcake? What’s sad and paradoxical about this occasional consignment is that many dishes we prepare only for the holidays are those that bring us the most comfort, that make us feel most at home and closest to the heart of our lives.
Gingerbread is an extreme example of this culinary exile, particularly because when gingerbread is prepared even for the holidays it’s most often make into cookies. Instead, let’s make loaves any day of the year, any time of the day. Many recipes employ equal measures of cinnamon, cloves, and allspice as well as ginger–almost as an afterthought–but ginger should shine.
Cream a stick of unsalted butter with a half cup of light brown sugar, beat until fluffy, and mix well with two eggs and a half cup of sorghum molasses. Mix one and a half cups of flour with a half teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground cloves, and allspice along with a heaping tablespoon of ground ginger. Add two teaspoons vanilla and a half cup buttermilk. Pour batter into a buttered loaf pan and bake at 350 for about an hour. If you have the willpower, cool before slicing. I never do.