December 19th, 2011
10:00 AM ET
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Oh come all ye Christmas carol literalists: PNC Wealth Management recently released its annual "Twelve Days of Christmas" calculation for holiday shoppers in the market for milk maids and French hens.

In 2013, springing for the whole menagerie, from twelve drummers drumming to a partridge (complete with pear tree), will set an aspiring Santa back a hefty $114,651.18.

But in case your house is already crowded enough without throwing eleven pipers into the mix, the scent of gingerbread baking is a wonderful gift - for a smidgen of the true cost of Christmas.

Cronut creator, pastry chef and bakery owner Dominique Ansel will have you run-run-running as fast as you can ... to the kitchen with his fragrantly spiced adaptation of the classic holiday treat.

Extra-Moist Mini Gingerbread Loaves
(The original recipe was provided in grams; it was adapted to U.S. standard measurements, but you can use a kitchen scale and the original measurements if you prefer.)

1 cup water (234 grams)
1/2 cup sugar (99 grams)
2/3 cup honey  (234 grams)
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour  (234 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (2 grams)
1 heaping teaspoon gingerbread spice; your own mixture of cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste (3 grams)
3 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (16 grams)
1 drop lemon oil
1 drop lime oil
1 drop orange oil
Pinch of salt (1 gram)
3/4 tablespoon star anise (6 grams)
1 1/3 stick clarified butter, melted (146 grams)

1. Bring the honey, water, and sugar to the boil. Remove from the heat.
2. Add the 3 types of citrus oils (lemon oil, lime oil, orange oil), star anise, and gingerbread spice and let infuse for 30 minutes. Strain.
3. Combine the infused honey syrup with the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the clarified butter and mix together.
4. Let the gingerbread batter rest for 12 hours in the refrigerator before using.
5. Divide and fill gingerbread paper molds.
6. Bake at 320 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes.
7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For more homemade gift ideas, try Eatocracy's peppermint bark and English toffee tutorials

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Filed under: Baked Goods • Bite • Christmas • Christmas • Holiday • Holidays • Homemade Gifts • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. baltazar

    sounds like traditional Polish gingerbread cake except there should be milk instead of water!

    December 22, 2013 at 2:16 am |
  2. mattk

    I don't know...gingerbread isn't the same without molasses or even brown sugar. It is what gives it that extra oomph along with the bite from the ginger.

    December 6, 2013 at 4:26 am |
  3. Sir Biddle

    NOM NOM NOM! Stomach grumbling reading this. Love this time of year for Gingerbread.

    December 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  4. :O !

    That looks delicious :p

    December 5, 2013 at 1:17 am |
  5. Emilia

    I wonder if this would keep a few days in a cool place (not refrigerator)? Also, how many molds (and what size) did you use? This sounds so go I want to make it as a party favor for my next tea–next Saturday, December 8th.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  6. Jessie

    My favorite recipie for gingerbread came from epicurious. I omitted the cardomon and gingerroot (because I didn't have any) and it still comes out incredibly. One word of warning. Grease the pan (I used a bundt) really really well with real shortening – no cooking spray. The surface is very sticky when its hot but once cool has an almost candy like coating.

    December 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  7. simply delicious!

    Just make your own version & be imaginative MERRY XMAS & HAPPY NEW YEARS

    December 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  8. Jon

    The recipe seems like fun and I might even try it. However, I don't think I'd eat anything most of you make. It sounds like you don't add much love.

    December 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Fiona

      That's quite a lot of judgement, Jon. Merry Christmas to you, too. Jeeeze.

      December 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
      • jon

        Only if it strikes close to home. And Happy Holiday's to you as well.

        December 19, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
        • Moseph

          Its a holiday baked goods article. I'd venture anybody taking the time to read such a thing is interested in doing somthing special for someone. You're just being a jerk.

          December 19, 2013 at 11:47 am |
  9. alimonyjones

    Good grief people: the 12 hours the batter rises is not jail time. You are not sentenced to stare at your fridge. If you're that harried, perhaps a micromaveable ginger bread from a box is your answer.

    December 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  10. Confused Baker

    What is the point of including a chemical leavener (baking powder) if you then let the batter rest for 12 hours, waiting out the reaction? My understanding is that the bubbles generated by soda/powder were short-lived and you had to go ahead and bake or you would get a dense, tough loaf. You rest bread dough, but yeast is alive, so it keeps leavening. Am I crazy? Is this not how chemical leaveners work? Have I been wrong all these years...?

    December 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Fiona

      I wondered about that, too. The two reasons dough (or batter) is rested in the refrigerator are to chill the fats so the flour won't be saturated and the end result will be flaky (pie or cookie dough made with solid fat) and to slow down the yeast and reduce the elasticity of a live, yeasted dough. I don't see why you'd do it with this batter, since the butter is melted when added. Spice flavors developing, perhaps?

      December 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
      • Confused Baker

        I assumed the rest time was for flavor development, too. I actually baked it both ways out of sheer curiosity, since my husband will happily eat any quantity of any kind of spiced cake, and based on my results I would really suggest adding the leavener after the chill time. They were both edible; however, gingerbread is supposed to be kind of dense. I could still taste the ginger, despite concerns it might be too little. I don't regret making it, although I doubt it will become a staple of my baking. Thank you for the recipe, and Merry Christmas!

        December 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • chefc

      The short lived reaction from soda/bp would be true only at room temp. Perhaps the resting in refrigeration is so it will hold shape better in the molds.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  11. Pat Savu

    Awfully light on ginger. 1 TSP mixed with other spices? more like spice bread.

    December 19, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  12. Fiona

    I'm interested enough by the " rest in the refrigerator for 12 hours before using" instruction to try this. Resting a batter (as opposed to a dough)? I wonder why.

    December 19, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  13. emmyk

    I'm with you, Wastrel. This sounds like fruitcake to me. Star anise and and no actual ginger kind of sounds like something other than gingerbread.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  14. In a "snap"? I don't THINK so...

    I'm sure this recipe is top-of-the-line when prepared as instructed but though the article's title is clever, "In a snap" hardly applies.

    I suppose every household chef stocks lemon, lime and orange oil as a matter of course [sarcasm]. It's easy enough for a haute chef or bakery owner to include this and that "exotic ingredient" when there's a supplied "showtime" or "business" allowance for off-the-wall spices and/or foodstuffs used on a daily basis.

    People don't spend a lot on seldom used spices since most will go stale in a short time. Also "In a snap" doesn't include 12 hours fridge time by any reasonable interpretation.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Soy Bean

      FYI: For the oils, if you don't have them, the instructions do say you can use zest.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Relictus

      Agreed. What a weird recipe!

      December 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • The Witty One

      I am a very slow snapper. I try and try and try but just can't make a snap happen in less than 36 hours. So to me, this is "in a snap". And thanks for bringing up painful memories of my fellow school laughing at me and poking me with sticks because I couldn't play their stupid games involving snapping. Do you realize how hard it is to listen to jazz when you can't snap quickly?!

      December 5, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  15. Wastrel

    "converted to U.S. standard measurements"? It looks like it's still in grams... we are not allowed to have kitchen scales, you know. They are drug paraphernalia. Aaaaaand.... it seems to me that if you were to add "mincemeat" (fruit) to this, you'd have fruitcake.... especially if you try to measure by volume instead of weight and it comes out like a brink. Just saying.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Fiona

      What is it about "adaptation" you don't understand, Wastrel? This is a version of, a riff on, traditional gingerbread. I'm guessing it's a little lighter and less sweet than the usual stuff . And about the measurements...measuring by weight rather than volume is the only precise way to bake. Precision is all in baking, which is largely a chemical process.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • The Witty One

      I'm pretty sure the DEA isn't going to swoop down to your place and take away your scales...unless they also take a bunch of drugs too. Just sayin'.

      December 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  16. Claire

    That sounds delicious! I made something's a spiced apple cider cake with chocolate covered ginger in it. I found the ginger in the bulk-food section of my grocery store, so you can get just the amount you need!

    December 19, 2011 at 10:13 am |
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