Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Current Obsession: Crystallized Ginger

Crystallized ginger (also known as candied ginger) is not something new, but lately I have been wanting to put it on and in everything I cook and bake. And not just for the nutritional value.

I first began loving candied ginger four or five years ago when I made a cranberry relish from Real Simple Magazine on Thanksgiving that used about 1/2 cup (I'm still searching over the internet to find a link for you, but RS doesn't seem to have it anymore). It was the first time I actually liked cranberry sauce.

Since then, I usually just munch on it for a sweet treat or when I have a stomach ache. However, like I said, lately I've had a hankering to put it into things. Especially into things with chocolate.

I did the dessert catering for a party the other day. Since discovering that most women don't really eat dessert (Tell me, how to they live??), I usually try to include some sort of small bite that goes well with coffee. I made these chocolate biscotti with candied ginger from Martha Stewart. They were really easy, and for taste I would give them an 8/10 (which is where Martha's recipes usually seem to land). It's definitely worth a go.

For the lot of you who like to eat real dessert, I have for you Orangette's Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Candied Ginger. Oooooh man.....

1 cup granulated sugar (for vegan version, use raw sugar)
1 large egg (or 1 ½ tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer plus 2 Tbs warm water, says Glenn)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (or ½ c non-hydrogenated margarine), at room temperature
2 ripe medium-size bananas
3 Tbs milk (or soy milk)
2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
Small chunks of candied ginger, to taste
½ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with butter or cooking spray, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar, egg, and butter.
In a separate bowl, mash bananas; then mix with milk.
In another separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in three parts, alternating with banana-milk mixture in two parts, stirring by hand until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, ginger, and optional nuts.

Turn batter into loaf pan, smoothing top with the back of a spoon, and bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes; then remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack.

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