Sweet and Spicy Gingerbread

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This Foster’s classic is a variation of a recipe by Dorian Parker, a wonderful cook whom I met when we both worked as caterers for Martha Stewart. The coffee, dry mustard, and black pepper may sound strange, but they add a subtle dept of flavor so that the bread isn’t just sweet, it’s spicy. We serve it all day long–for breakfast, for tea, and even for dessert topped with warm applesauce, ice cream, or whipped cream.

 Makes 2 9 x 5-inch loaves

 3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1½ cups molasses
1 cup brewed strong coffee, cooled

 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Lightly grease and flour two 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pans and set aside.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mustard, and pepper in a large bowl and stir to mix.

4. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5. Add the molasses to the butter mixture in a slow, steady stream while continuing to beat. Add the coffee, and continue to beat until all the ingredients are well blended.

6. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until all the dry ingredients are moist and blended. Do not overmix.

7. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and place the pans on the center rack of the oven.

8. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until the bread rises and springs back lightly when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean.

9. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the pans. Serve warm or place on a baking rack to cool. (This is great served warm, but it may be more difficult to slice.)


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