I know Wednesday seems a little late for a Christmas recap, but I just couldn't help myself. I may or may not be already mourning the loss of my winter break. But that is neither here nor there. Gotta live it up while it lasts!
Speaking of living it up, I surely started my Christmas morning with a bang. What better way to wake up and celebrate than with a little yoga since we already went to Christmas Eve mass? Yoga definitely left me feeling energized and ready for the festivities ahead. The full playlist full of Christmas music surely put me in the mood!
When I arrived home, though, something wasn't right. My house smelled like something foreign, something that didn't exactly say Christmas to me. It definitely wasn't gingerbread, hot chocolate, or Christmas cookies. And then I understood: it was bacon. And not just any bacon, but applewood smoked bacon. Now I don't know much about bacon, but my nose can tell you that this was in a league of its own. The bacon smell wasn't just going to disappear and neither was I.
With visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, I knew exactly what I had to do. After a quick shower for refreshment, I tied on my apron and took to the kitchen. There was only one thing on my mind: gingerbread.
I was surprised how simple it was to make! From the moment the gingerbread entered my oven, my house started to take on a sweet perfume. The lovely aroma was well represented in the taste as well. My family really liked the robust spiced flavor (from the molasses), moist interior, and crunch from the pecans. A true eating experience for all the senses!
Spiced Gingerbread Loaf with Pecans
Makes one loaf
- 1/2 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk, but soy milk curdles best)
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 2 TBS ground flax seed
- 6 TBS hot water (almost boiling)
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 TBS ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 cup (8TBS) Earth Balance
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans (I toasted mine at 350*F for about 10 minutes first)
- Preheat oven to 350*F. Coat a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan with Earth Balance (or cooking spray) and dust with flour (making sure to tap out the excesses).
- Stir together soy milk and apple cider. Set aside to curdle for about 10-15 minutes.
- Use a fork to quickly combine flax seed and hot water in a small dish. Set aside until it becomes gelatinous.
- Place flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, kosher salt, allspice, and cloves in a a bowl. Whisk to combine and aerate the dry ingredients.
- Using either a hand- or stand-mixer, beat the Earth Balance and brown sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Beat in the molasses until combined. Slowly beat in the flax seed and water mixture. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- On low speed, beat in 1/3 of the dry mixture until just incorporated. Add in about half of the soy milk and apple cider vinegar mixture until smooth. Alternate mixing in 1/3 of the dry and the rest of the wet mixtures in the same manner. Finish by adding the last 1/3 of the dry mixture and beating until incorporated. Stir in pecans.
- Transfer batter into prepared pan. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the loaf pulls away from the edges. Cool the gingerbread in the pan for 10 minutes and then flip it out on a rack to cool completely.
How did you spend the holiday weekend (whether or not you celebrate Christmas)? What are you favorite scents?
Have a lovely day!