Storified by Arya McLean· Fri, Apr 12 2013 00:41:02
Moist, spicy and delicately crumbly, gingerbread is a Christmas tradition that makes the holiday aromatic and romantic. It is both homey and elegant and especially delectable when enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea. In this gourmet cooking recipe, adapted from The Blue Willow Inn Cookbook by Jane & Michael Stern, gingerbread is served with a sweet and tangy lemon sauce to add a bit of a punch and kick to the favorite holiday treat.
Gingerbread recipes go back to the medieval ages and making this dessert for Christmas or holidays is also participating in a human tradition with a long history and culture. In the old times, honey was commonly used to make gingerbread to give it a beautiful warm brown color. In this recipe, brown sugar and molasses are used to give the modern gingerbread its distinctively beautiful dark brown hue. Molasses contains a lot of minerals and nutrients, and together with lemon and ginger, can be quite a tonic to relieve a stressed out body, a worked out mind, or an aching heart.
Gingerbread can be served warm out of the oven, or chilled and served cold. It can be shaped into a gingerbread man, a Christmas tree, or a gingerbread house. In this recipe, an ordinary baking pan is used to give it the shape of a cake. This makes it easy to slice into segments and serve to guests together with the lemon sauce. You can also top the gingerbread with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to give it an extra-delicious flavor and contrast.
The ginger in the bread tends to develop overtime and keeping it for too long can give it an odd spiciness. Some like the exotic taste while others are put off by it. On the safe side, it is best to enjoy gingerbread fresh form the oven or a day after it has been baked.