I’m having a little phase of experimental baking. Not for the book you understand, - I’m having a short break from that for a few weeks - just a personal exploration of new combinations, ingredients, methods. I’m being fairly relaxed about it, I’m not trying to make the perfect loaf or the best cake; I’m just exploring possibilities, testing the waters, if you will. A recent discovery of mine, though I’m sure some of you are already familiar with it, is Coconut Palm Sugar. It’s made from the crystallised nectar of the coconut palm blossoms (I love that description, I lifted it straight from the packaging, it’s so ridiculously aspirational!) Essentially, it’s an unrefined sugar, very low in GI and therefore slower to release into the system (a good thing). Plus, it’s packed full of vitamins and minerals making it a far healthier choice to your usual refined sugars. Most importantly, it tastes utterly divine. I’m a big fan of Muscavodo sugars for their caramel, malty flavours and coconut sugar does just the same for baking; it adds a lovely mellow hit and an extra sweet and toffee level of flavour. I can really recommend it, but (and I do understand this), if you feel that swapping the sugars in your life is just a step too far then you can easily use your plain old soft light brown sugar instead, it will be equally delicious.
This particular Gingerbread has to be one of the easiest things to make in the world. In a matter of minutes you can have it in the oven, a bit of measuring and stirring your only chore, which, other than pleasingly simple, also makes it a brilliant thing to rustle up at short notice. It has a faintly earthy, rustic quality in appearance, it’s not particularly pretty and I’ve yet to make it without the top cracking a little, but this does nothing to diminish the gorgeous ginger flavour with just a hint of citrus from the lemon juice. The crumb is dense to the eye but actually very light to the bite, and the caramel sweetness from the coconut sugar is divine. All in all, it’s a lovely thing to have with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or to pack into your lunch box for a treat at work. You could ice it if you wish, it would make it look a little prettier but I really wouldn’t bother unless I was serving at an afternoon tea or such like. I rather like its homely appearance; it reminds you that it’s homemade and full of good quality, simple ingredients – just as it should be.
Oh yes, and apologies for the slightly erratic posting on The Intolerant Gourmet this fortnight, I’m currently on holiday. Normal mid-weekly posting will resume soon, I promise.
Makes 8 squares
275g Doves Farm gluten free self-raising flour
200g Coconut Palm Sugar or soft light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground ginger
100ml sunflower oil
170ml cold water
2 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 200c and lightly grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
Place the flour, ginger, baking powder and sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir together until combined. Pour in the oil, lemon juice and water and stir together until you have a smooth cake batter.
Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin, level the top with the back of a spoon and bake for 30 - 35 minutes until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When ready cut into squares and serve.