I usually always try to incorporate some kind of gingerbread-y themed recipe(s) in the 12 Days of Christmas, but up until today’s post, it’s actually been quite a while since I made actual gingerbread. I consider that kind of a shame considering how much I love it, and how extremely easy it is to throw together.
True to my word from earlier posts, I’m sharing yet another recipe that features sweet potato as a main ingredient. It’s one of my favorite vegetables, it’s rich in beta carotenes, and I’ve found that it lends itself extremely well as a baking ingredient–even when baking for Christmas.
I’ve used mashed potato as an ingredient when baking yeast bread before, with wonderful results. Not only does it add flavor, the potato acts as a built in ‘moistener’ that makes it very difficult for the loaf to dry out. Since it worked for a yeast loaf, I saw no reason it couldn’t work for a quick bread.
For me, delicious gingerbread boils down to two things: moisture and spices. They both have to be there, or it’s no bueno. The mashed sweet potato takes care of all of the moisture in this loaf, and as for spices, there’s ground ginger (of course) as well as cinnamon nutmeg and molasses.
Oh, the wonderful, heavenly smells this made in my kitchen as it was baking. I’m getting emotional/hungry just thinking about it.
Gingerbread’s flavor actually improves with time, so this might be something you ‘make ahead’, allow it to sit for a few days wrapped in wax paper, parchment in a plastic bag, then take out to enjoy on Christmas eve or Christmas morning.
Or you could do what I did, and cut a square out as soon as it was cool enough to handle and eat it standing right over the stove. Your choice.
Day 4: Sweet Potato Gingerbread
Sweet Potato Gingerbread
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- ¼ cup dark molasses
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Coarse sugar, for sprinkling, optional
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch pan, or line the pan with parchment paper you’ve lightly sprayed with cooking spray; set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and butter; beat at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Add sweet potato, milk, molasses, eggs, and vanilla, beating to mix well. Gradually add flour mixture to sweet potato mixture, beating until combined.
Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar, if desired.
Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cut into 12 squares.