This week I became custodian of our family’s Christmas pudding bowl and associated accoutrements. In amongst the carefully wrapped packages were shiny silver pennies and a gorgeous array of miniature Nigella-esque reindeer and fir tree decorations. I’ve written before about how one of the enduring pleasures of this blog has been scribing closely guarded recipes that grace the table at family celebrations, transcending the test of time, so it goes without saying that I was beyond delighted and honoured to receive this very special gift.
Unwrapping the reindeer, the first image that sprung to mind was the glorious sticky gingerbread in Nigella’s Christmas. The figurines looked almost identical to those used to style her bake. I’m not sure where my copy of the cookbook has disappeared, it’s bright red spine certainly wasn’t visible in a quick scan of my groaning bookshelf, perhaps it’s been borrowed or simply misplaced.
No matter, inspired by Nigella, I was determined to recreate my own little Christmas gingerbread tableau, complete with Rudolph and his bright red glowing nose. Taking the easy route I rustled up a quick mix spiced gingerbread style blondie. The result was stunning – deliciously rich, soft and fudgy . With the winter weather outside just frightful and a large part of our state uncharacteristically covered in snow courtesy of a severe cold front, what better excuse for an impromptu Christmas in July celebration.
Spiced Gingerbread Blondies
Makes 16 squares
2 3/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinamon
3cm knob fresh ginger, finely grated
finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
225g unsalted butter
1 cup dark soft brown sugar
1/3 cup golden syrup
1/3 cup dark treacle
2 large free range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
sifted icing sugar, for dusting
PREHEAT oven to 180 C. Butter a 20cm square tin, then line with baking paper, leaving a generous overhang for easy removal of the blondie once baked. Set aside.
MELT butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mixture bubbles and foams, and milk solids begin to separate. Continue to cook until nut brown. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
IN A MIXING BOWL combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ground ginger, cardamom and coriander with finely grated lemon zest and fresh ginger. Set aside.
IN A SEPARATE BOWL, beat together burnt butter, brown sugar, golden syrup, treacle, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
FOLD dry ingredients into wet until just combined.
POUR batter evenly into the prepared baking tin.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, golden, puffed and slightly cracked on top. A toothpick inserted into the centre should come out with a few soft sticky crumbs.
WHEN cool cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar.