There are a handful of things that are unequivocally charged with Christmas spirit. Like fresh snow. The scent of pine. Mulled wine on the lips. And of course, gingerbread. The fellowship of molasses and ginger is a dark magic -- laced with spice and strangely addictive. This year I elevated a simple gingerbread recipe, binding the usual suspects with olive oil for an especially moist loaf, and bolstering the flavor with brewed coffee. The holidays may be over, but having this quickbread on hand is a ticket to the season any time of year.
[Yield: 1 loaf]
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 large egg
1 cup dark molasses
1 cup hot brewed coffee
Heat oven to 350 dgF. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt. In a larger bowl, whisk together olive oil, brown sugar, and the egg. In a small bowl, stir together the hot coffee and molasses until combined.
Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the oil-sugar-egg mixture, whisking until just combined. Add half of the molasses mixture, stir to combine, and then continue alternating dry ingredients and molasses in increments, until all ingredients are incorporated. Be careful not to overmix.
Grease a loaf pan and pour in the prepared batter. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread emerges clean. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.
When bread has cooled, dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.