It might not surprise you to learn I have an extensive collection of chocolate in my baking cupboard. Some I buy, some people give me, some I can't remember how I got them. They're nice to have for that quick nibble-fix, but especially fun to use in baking! For example, I wanted to put some chocolate in my gingerbread. Chocolate chips would be fine. If I had to. But what did I have that might be more interesting? Hmm...
Well, gee, I had some Green & Black's Ginger Dark Chocolate! And a bar of Lindt Intense Orange Dark. Since I was doubling the recipe (2 loaves), these together made the perfect amount (and flavors!)
Whipped them up, baked them to amber, and drizzled (slathered) with a delicate citrus glaze of sugar and orange juice. I totally improvised so you can, and should, too. I don't know, dried fruit, zests, extract, nuts, white chocolate?, pepper, candied peel, chocolate drizzle? Whatever you like, however you like it, will probably be great with this bread. But I (and my girls, who have excellent taste) thought it was pretty much fabulously perfect the way I made it, so I'm sticking to it like this.
Orange-Chocolate Gingerbread (print recipe)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup well-shaken low fat buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, with orange or ginger if you have it
3/4 to 1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 to 2 1/2 T fresh squeezed orange juice
- Heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in middle. Coat a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter, dust with flour, and tap out excess.
- Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice, and cloves in a large bowl. Whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside. In a separate medium bowl, stir together buttermilk and vanilla until combined.
- Combine butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in molasses until well combined then add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated.
- Stop mixer and scrape bowl and paddle (mixture will look separated and curdled). Add one third flour mixture beating on low speed just until flour is incorporated. Add half buttermilk mixture and once batter is smooth add another third flour mixture. Add remaining buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Add remaining flour mixture, and beat until incorporated and smooth. Stir in chopped chocolate.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and cake is pulling away from sides of pan, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
- Prepare glaze by whisking sugar and juice until smooth spreading consistency. Pour/spread/brush glaze on warm loaf and allow to set while bread cools. Cool completely, or nearly, before slicing.