I did make some gingerbread this weekend – the first thing I’ve baked since about this time last year. I baked a treat for work then – Bisquick coffee cake in mini-bundt molds. They were adorable, and I kept the pan just in case.
The recipe turned out ok. A little dry, but the ginger and molasses were in the right place, and the batter darkened perfectly from peanut-butter brown to rich, dark chocolate. A dozen little scalloped cakes will last me about 3 weeks.
I’ve been waiting to eat gingerbread for a long time. It’s one of the few desserts I actually miss. The gingerbread we grew up on is long since gone – a 29 cent Jiffy mix, relegated to the bottom shelf for bargain brands and the people who buy them. I remember the burst of sweet spice when we opened the small, blue and white box. The ribbons of cinnamon colored batter slurping into the pastel papers that lined the cupcake pan, the endless 20 minutes while they baked, the eternity while the muffins cooled enough to eat. And the tender, dense sponge dissolving its peppery molasses into ice-cold milk or warm tea. Maybe we were watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus while we ate – or maybe it was Carol Burnett.
So, yes – this was the week. The week I finally needed to reach back – way far back – and re-occupy some moment of unalloyed pleasure and safety. A burst of sweetness from a 29 cent cake mix, ginger and cinnamon blooming in the oven, while you stand in the kitchen waiting – and lick the streaks of batter from the bowl.