While it may not be a white Christmas outside here in Southern California, the next best way to bring about the winter season is through food! With so much holiday shopping to do for the family, I opted for homemade gifts for my work pals. I braved Black Friday shopping and scored these cute mini (5×3) ceramic loaf pans for $1 each! So naturally I bought twelve of them.
Next was to find a bread recipe to fill the loaf pans. Did I go the peppermint or pumpkin route? Did I keep it classic and do the tried and true banana bread? In the spirit of Christmas, I went with gingerbread because baking twelve gingerbread loaves would be a lot easier than making twelve gingerbread houses. With time running out before my Christmas break (oh the joys of working at a school!), I turned to the internet to find a recipe and decided to try my hand at coming up with my own recipe next year.
After wading through countless searches, I stumbled upon the perfect recipe on Tastes of Lizzy T’s. This recipe is really easy to put together and I surprisingly had most of the ingredients on hand. After a quick trip to the grocery store for some buttermilk and molasses, I was ready to get baking!
The original recipe is for one 9×5 loaf pan so now the trick was figuring out how many batches of the batter I needed to make to fill my twelve mini pans. I decided to double the recipe first to see how many mini loaves it yielded and would work from there. Doubling the recipe produced nine loaves, filled two-thirds full. So close! I made one more batch of the batter and filled my remaining three loaf pans and a fourth of my own so that I could taste test the bread before giving it away 🙂
Next on the to-do list was to adjust the baking time. For one large loaf, the recipe called for 55 minutes of baking which would turn my mini loaves into a burnt crisp. Looking at the amount of batter in the pans, I decided to treat them similar to a muffin and started with 20 minutes on the timer. Yahtzee! This was the perfect amount of bake time to produce a firm yet moist loaf. Of course, baking times vary with ovens so I suggest starting with 20 and adding a minute or two if it isn’t quite ready when checked with a toothpick. And did I mention how amazing the apartment smelled?! Baked bread of any sort is one of my favorite smells and this spiced gingerbread one topped the charts.
After the bread had completely cooled, I dusted each with powdered sugar to add a little “snow.” Since I do not own a sifter or powdered sugar shaker, I used a small mason jar covered with cheese cloth to create a makeshift shaker to evenly distribute the sugar. Since I needed to wrap these the night before so that they were ready to go in the morning, I did run into a little snag. While my pictures show the loaves sugar dusted, the sugar was absorbed overnight and my “snow melted” into the bread and in the morning it was no more. The lesson learned from this is to dust right before you plan to distribute so the sugar remains.
Either way, it tasted great and my co-workers gave their stamp of approval!
These would also make great hostess gifts or if you have a family like mine, gifts for your very large extended family.
Happy cooking and baking this holiday season!
Recipe found on http://www.tastesoflizzyt.com/2014/11/07/gingerbread-loaf/, triple recipe to fill 13 mini loaf pans and reduce baking time to 20-22 minutes.