Gingerbread is one of my favorite treats for any season. Whether you make it as cakes or cookies or something else, for dessert or just snacking, it has wonderful flavor and texture. It’s lightly sweet, but you can add anything from whipped cream to hot chocolate sauce to make it more indulgent.
There’s a lot besides cookies and cakes you can make gingerbread into.
- Classic gingerbread recipe: one of the most familiar gingerbread recipes is actually a cake batter. You can bake it in a cake pan and cut it like cake, or in a bread loaf pan to make gingerbread you can slice. You can even bake it as cupcakes, which is absolutely fantastic with a cream cheese icing. However you use it, this recipe comes out a moist, dense, spicy-sweet cake that’s delicious with whipped cream, butter, cream cheese and/or a simple lemon sauce.
- Gingerbread men: this is a classic recipe for making gingerbread men from scratch. It also has a recipe for the confectioner’s frosting you’ll need to decorate them (you can get more fancy, with colored icing or by pressing raisins or nut slivers into the cookies before baking). This is actually a cookie recipe, of course. Therefore it’s a little bit drier than the cake recipe, which gives the cookies the consistency they need to hold their form.
- Gingerbread waffles: with just a few tweaks, this gingerbread recipe turns cake batter into a waffle batter that’s spicy and sweet, and cooks up like any other in your waffle iron. This recipe is delicious served with nothing but a sprinkling of powdered sugar or whipped cream, or even just butter. But you could also drizzle a lemon sauce over it, or some maple syrup, or a chocolate sauce. Just use your imagination – so many sauces taste great over gingerbread.
- Gingerbread pancakes: keeping with the breakfast theme, this recipe for gingerbread pancakes is easy to whip up on a whim. Nicole sometimes serves them with sauteed pears and powdered sugar, as pictured, but her favorite accompaniment is a lemon infused maple syrup, for which she also includes the recipe. Whether you prefer this recipe or the waffles for breakfast is mostly a matter of personal taste, but the pancakes do have the advantage of not needing a waffle iron.
- Gingerbread scones: great for snacking anytime, gingerbread scones – like all scones – are moist but dense. Because they need no icing or sauce, they’re great for taking on the road with you, just wrapped in a bit of plastic wrap or wax paper or even just tossed into a brown bag (that’s what they do at those overpriced coffee shops, right?). Not only are they better or fresher than scones you buy at a coffee shop, but they’re also a fraction of the cost to make – even if you factor in your labor, since this is not a very labor intensive recipe.
- Marbled gingerbread: this is basically a gingerbread cake batter below a cream cheese filling, with a mix of the two marbled together on top. The end result is something like a gingerbread cheesecake. Yes, this recipe has lots of fat and calories, but it’s intensely satisfying – the flavor, the texture, everything just works wonderfully together. So enjoy it in moderation if you’re counting calories. Cut your slices very small if you want – you’ll be surprised how far just a few bites of this will go.
- Gingerbread bars: this recipe makes a batter that cooks up dense and chewy – perfect for a sort of brownie alternative. This recipe comes with a cream cheese icing recipe to marble over the top. The icing is a little bit stiffer than a traditional cake icing, so you can actually wrap these little treats in plastic and take them on the road with you – again, they’re certainly cheaper than anything you’ll buy on the road, and this particular recipe comes with nutritional information, so you know exactly what you’re eating. Some of the icing might come off on the plastic while it’s in transit, but you can always just lick that off, right?