Monday, December 20, 2010

Extreme Gingerbread Addiction (EGA)

Like clockwork, every December I suffer from a severe case of Extreme Gingerbread Addiction (EGA)

It hit big time last week and I was ready to attack anything with the word 'Gingerbread' in sight. Fortunately I restrained myself from wolfing down 'gingerbread' dog biscuits at the Grand Central Xmas Fair.

Nor did I wolf down Whole Foods PC/natural/zero/trans fat 'Folk' gingerbread cookies. Would you?

Whole Foods has a DIY gingerbread 'chalet' too. Who cares. I like my gingerbread to be men and unadulterated.

I noticed Whole Foods' mistletoe nearby.
'Not for human consumption'
Is someone expecting ET to show up? Is Santa an ET..?

I am not fond of French Pain d'Epice de Dijon either. This is a kind of soft honey bread/cake that is such a distant relative of gingerbread it hardly bears being in same category in my humble opinion.

A newish pastry chain in New York, La Financiere, fancies itself to be very Frenchie since they offer macarons. They admonished me for taking this picture, so perhaps they really ARE French? These look like standard issue gingerbread that could well be left over from last year and outsourced to boot. I was not impressed.

Union Square Farmers Market can be depended upon for the old fashioned ginger cookie.

And they had the 'brokens' on sale. These were not half-bad though a true ginger cookie should be break-your-teeth-hard and these were not sadly :( Tant pis.

Breezy Orchard Farms had practically life-sized gingerbread at the outrageous price of $5 bucks. I did not have the nerve to fork over the dough, but I did give them a gentle squeeze and they were sufficiently rock hard. No brokens or on sale yet malheureusement

You can get a perfectly good cup of hot apple cider for a mere $2 at the Breezy Hill stand along with apples up the whazoo etc.

Chocolate 'gingerbread' men on a stick from NUNU in Brooklyn. Lately ANYTHING at all from Brooklyn is hot hot hot.

I looked for a possible substitute like a gingerbread men tree ornament but was not lucky at Union Square.

Eleni NYC does have gingerbread taxis if you're so inclined to contemporary shapes. My gingerbread history goes way back - to the days when I stood side-by-side with my mom baking. I helped cut out and decorate gingerbread cookies to go on our tree. Adding the strings was another favorite task. In addition I ate all broken, damaged gingerbread (when no one was looking of course) so they could be spared embarrassment on the tree. You can understand why my gingerbread addiction is longstanding.

One year Anita of Desserts First sent me a tin of gingerbread and I sent her a watercolor in deep gratitude. If any PBers gets the urge to follow her example do not resist!

Photo courtesy of Sarabeth
I did find the gingerbread of my dreams last week. Hard as a rock and full of intense gingery flavor like the kind my mother made. At Sarabeth's Bakery! I didn't have my camera with me, but I found this picture on Sarabeth's blog. It turns out her utterly divine and quite spare icing is WHITE CHOCOLATE! Who knew? I wonder if the cookie recipe is in her fab cookbook? The icing recipe is on her blog so stop by. I'm not allowed to DYI my own gingerbread. I'm not safe around raw gingerbread dough - I will eat it without thinking twice. Would you? 

New Yorkers are out there running around like maniacs shopping till they drop. I am contemplating running back to Sarabeth's for more True Gingerbread.
Should I?
It only comes once a year.
You tell me :)


  1. I'm with you. It is only once a year (I try to keep it that way so it's special)...go for it, Carol.


  2. You should definitely run right back to Sarabeth's and pick up those cookies!! You'll just end up thinking about them all day!

  3. I hope you are already on your way...If not, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR! Happy Holidays Carol. Enjoy all the gingerbread your heart desires :)

  4. You're absolutely correct Cathy!
    I'll be thinking about them them rest of the year!

  5. I make good gingerbread and gingersnaps, and I love the way the house smells when they're baking. You sure did your homework! I blogged a few days ago about a gingerbread house: you're bringing back more memories. Fun, Carol. I like those gingerbread trees--they sound good.

  6. ps
    DUH--I forgot to say how much I like your beautiful gingerbread painting--charming!

  7. I don't like gingerbread at all, Carol. Sorry!
    So I haven't tasted them myself. But every other kind of cookie I've tasted from Dancing Deer has been delicious. So don't necessarily diss them just because they're 0 percent trans fats.
    If I could like gingerbread, I would, because it's so good and figures so prominently in story around Christmas time.
    Joyeux Noel to a favorite blogger!

  8. SIGN. ME. Up. YUM!!!!! :) Only once a year after all. XXOO my dear one.

  9. Whoa! You're "one hard cookie" to please! :O)

  10. I hope you are already over there at Sarabeth's while I type this! White chocolate icing is way cool! :-))

    I made Gingerbread boys and girls for my first two or three Christmas trees, simply because I had not enough ornaments otherwise. I stopped that tradition when I found my one and a half year old biting of the gingerbread person's feet (no, it was edible, but I was afraid the little gourmand would pull down the tree).

  11. Oh, my I do love ginger anything. Have you ever tasted the 3xginger cookies from the China Moon cookbook?
    Contains, fresh, powdered and candies ginger. I adore them!

    Anything Brooklyn IS very hot even if it's not in said place.


  12. Sophia2:47 PM

    I am also a gingerbread fanatic. And hate to make my own cookies but may be forced to as there is no Sarabeth’s around here and everything else is crap. I love the really hard stuff that is so difficult to find (!).
    But I like pain d’epices--it just isn’t gingerbread.
    I like Nigella Lawson’s sticky gingerbread cake recipe--very easy and delish--I have adopted it as my own (I add more spices).


  13. I am once again convinced we were separated at birth. Gingerbread is one of the 4 major food groups...although I tolerate the gingerbread that is like a cake and my favorite is the old-fashioned rolled dough that is tough, but not hard and has a clear glazing.
    Eons ago, when we were first married, we had of course very little $$$ so I baked gingerbread cookies to decorate our tree...they looked great and "all was calm, all was bright" until about the 4th day after I decorated. I came home from work to find that there were no cookies left below the height of our Kerry Blue Terrier's nose!
    I'm off on a gingerbread expedition right now!

  14. Make your home smell sticky sweet with this dreamy gingerbread from Nigella Lawson.
    I can’t disentangle the smell of gingerbread from the smell of Christmas: I can think of no better welcome as people come through the door of the kitchen than the waft of it freshly baking in the oven. It is relaxingly simple to prepare, is good at any hour and keeps wonderfully.

    I’m happy with it unfrosted, just left plain or perhaps snowily dusted with icing sugar, but if you want you can (as I do if it is for a bake sale) make a sharply contrasting icing by sieving 175g icing sugar and mixing it till thick and spreadable with a tablespoon of lemon juice and one of warm water. Spread this over the cold slab of gingerbread, and leave to set before cutting.

    But it is, perhaps, the simplicity of the gingerbread, sticky with syrup and dark muscovado sugar, that makes me love it most. A square of it with a nice cup of tea would make even wrapping-up seem less vile, though I’d recommend having a pack of wipes nearby.


    150g butter
    200g golden syrup
    200g black treacle or molasses
    125g dark muscovado sugar
    2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 2 x 15ml tablespoons warm water
    250ml full-fat milk
    2 eggs, beaten to mix
    300g plain flour
    1 Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3 and line a roasting tin or ovenproof dish (approx. 30cm x 20cm x 5cm) with Bake-O-Glide, foil or baking parchment (if using foil, grease it too).

    2 In a saucepan, melt the butter over a lowish heat along with the sugar, syrup, treacle, fresh and ground gingers, cinnamon and cloves.

    3 Take off the heat, and add the milk, eggs and dissolved bicarbonate of soda in its water.

    4 Measure the flour into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed. It will be a very liquid batter, so don’t worry. This is part of
    what makes it sticky later.

    5 Pour it into the prepared tin and bake for 45–60 minutes until risen and firm on top. Try not to overcook, as it is nicer a little stickier, and anyway will carry on cooking as it cools.

    6 Transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the gingerbread cool in the tin before cutting into 20 squares, or however you wish to slice it.

    Makes 20 squares

    Make the gingerbread up to 2 weeks ahead, wrap loosely in baking parchment and store in an airtight
    tin. Cut into squares as required.

    Make the gingerbread, wrap in baking parchment and a layer of foil then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 3–4 hours and cut into squares.
    XX Nigella

  15. I say if you can only get them once a year, then snap up as much as you can and enjoy!

  16. Definitely go back!! Once a year, like you said......
    I don't like the rock-hardness of gingerbread cookies - sorry :)
    I love your painting & the night shot of the cider stand.
    You're right about Brooklyn, too - it's got everything going for it now - who knew?

  17. Run dont walk to get more Gingerbread cookies if you love them as they will be gone soon. And remember there are no caliroes in the broken ones. :))I still love that painting.

  18. Carol, I can easily identify for your December connection with gingerbread.

    I love all sorts of gingerbread, and appreciate your tour of the NYC contenders.

    Maybe I will be baking my own gingerbread on Christmas eve. I have an easy, delicious Grasmere gingerbread recipe from a Brit recipe book, written and illustrated by Joanna Isles, called A Proper Tea. It's easy because you bake in a flat tin, no molding or cutting or decorating required. It's like ginger shortbread.

    Happy Christmas to you!

  19. Gingerbread is your vice, green frosted tree-shaped sugar cookies are mine. Because if there is EVER a time NOT to eat good-for-you-stuff, it's now. You made the right choice passing up those "healthy" cookies, Carol.

  20. Justine7:08 AM

    I have EGA and didn't know it!
    THANKS for elucidating me. Or should I say inspiring me to act on my impulses and run out and get me some gingerbread men.
    I say 'Men' not man please note.
    Yr a bad influence and could lead a girl to wicked ways..

  21. AMY:
    green green green food!
    I ate a gingerbread 'tree' yesterday minus the GREEN, though it costs some GREEN...
    if only they could put the 5-7 vegetables inside a cookie...

  22. I am in Munich, Prague, Budapest and Vienna for christmas market tour.
    Have bought lots of gingerbread beautifully iced.
    And Gluewein

  23. I can't believe people actually sell mistletoe in packages like that. Here in Texas it grows in our beautiful trees and causes branches to die. Funny how things that are common to some will be famous to others.


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