chocolate marbled gingerbread

i love ginger.

not just because i’ve been called a ginger. it’s a bit peppery, a bit spicy, a bit sweet, a bit tangy. you can pickle it, candy it, dry it; you can use it in sweet or savory dishes. it’s infinitely flexible, beautifully versatile, and shows up in unexpected places. i always welcome that little pop of flavor on my palette – i don’t think there’s much that ginger doesn’t improve.

and chocolate? well, you know how i feel about sweets. in moderation, i like them. combine sweet with salty, tangy, or spicy? i can’t get enough. it’s a gorgeous, addictive combination. when i think of autumn flavors and smells, i think cinnamon, apples, rum and brandy, nutmeg, cloves, dark woods, deep greens, pumpkin, leather, smoke….it’s the perfect season for distinctive aromas, and i savor everyone one of them.

in the spirit of late september, i give you a deep, rich, spicy and sweet chocolate marbled gingerbread, which is great on its own but achieves perfection with good vanilla ice cream and fresh, dark coffee. eat with good friends, and relish every bite.

chocolate marbled gingerbread
adapted from emily luchetti

8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup unsulphured molasses
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
1/4 cup dark cocoa power

preheat oven to 350 degres. grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13 baking pan, and set aside.

in a small saucepan, bring the water to boil. remove from heat and stir in molasses and baking soda until fully combined. set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.

stir together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar with paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. with the mixer still running, add the egg. when fully combined, keep mixer on slow and alternately add molasses mixture and dry ingredients until smooth.

pour about a third of the mixture into another bowl, then add melted chocolate and cocoa powder. stir until smooth.

pour the plain batter into the greased dish. evenly space 6-8 spoonfuls of chocolate batter on top of the plain batter, then use a skewer or knife to marble the two together. bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. allow gingerbread to cool before serving.

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