Monday, March 21, 2016

Rice Cooker Gingerbread: Makes Everyday Taste Like Christmas

Steaming slices of gingerbread with a cute ceramic cat.
In my grandmothers kitchen there was an old-fashioned wooden cupboard that took up an entire wall and blocked a window. On the left side large doors opened onto shelves of dishes and underneath was a big drawer for the flour bin, tupperware containers, and her baking utensils. Up above on the right smaller doors opened onto a shelf where the candy jar was kept, and I perfected opening it without making a sound in order to sneak more of a favorite sweet.

I also perfected opening a lower drawer where my grandmother always kept a tupperware container of cookies. There were many different varieties for she loved to bake and had a hungry troop of grandchildren, their parents, and a multitude of friends who would come through her kitchen for coffee and a good chat.

My favorite were the ginger snaps. While I would sneak them from the drawer in the kitchen, it should also be known that I was not above sneaking into the basement (a not easy task as this required lifting a heavy trapdoor or going around outside to an outside door) and stealing one or, ahem, three, from the freezer.

My mother, on the hand, makes a killer gingerbread. Always served with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream (is there any other kind?) the sharp sweet tang of the molasses and sugar with the ever so gently melting ice cream is enough to make me weep while I type.

Thank heavens, I say, for my rice cooker.

Cookies are out of the question as I do not have an oven, but when a bottle of molasses bequeathed me by a friend moving back to the United States set my mind wondering and mouth watering. If it worked for bread, why not gingerbread? It's got bread in the name, right? I soon sat down with an old copy of the Joy of Cooking (circa 1962) and began looking for recipes. Most looked a bit too wet for the rice cooker, but I decided to experiment. The results thus far have been quite tasty. Here's my adaptation of their Quick Sweet Whole-Wheat Bread, what they describe as "a "homely" coarse sweet bread." I'd call it yummy.

The whole loaf and nothing but the loaf.
Well, ok. There's a cute ceramic cat back there, too.
Rice Cooker Gingerbread
Stir together dry ingredients:
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (I used 1 1/2 whole-wheat and 1 regular)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I used a bit more.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix together the wettish ingredients:
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 sesame oil (I used roughly half sesame and half olive oils, but I use more olive next time.)

Add the wettish ingredients to the dry ingredients alternating with:
2/3 cup yogurt
*Raisins and nuts would also go nicely here, I think.

Mix well.

Lightly grease the rice cooker bowl and pour in the batter. Bake for a full cycle plus one more of the half-hearted ones the machine gives at this point before flipping over to bake for another half-hearted one. Turn out on a cutting board to cool or just cut into it straightaway like we did for a warm slice of joy.

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