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Gingerbread Squares With Lemon Sauce Recipe

For the cake:

1 C. dark molasses

1/2 C. firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 C. fresh orange juice

Finely grated zest of 2 oranges

2 T. chopped crystallized ginger

1 T. peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour

2 t. baking soda

2 t. ground ginger

2 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 t. ground cloves

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 T. vanilla extract

For the sauce:

2/3 C. granulated sugar

2 T. cornstarch

1 1/2 C. water

Finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons

1 T. Grand Marnier

2 T. unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter an 8-by-12-inch baking dish. Dust with flour and tap out excess.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the molasses, brown sugar and butter. Cook, stirring until the butter is melted and the mixture is bubbly, about 5 minutes. Stir in orange juice, orange zest, crystallized ginger and fresh ginger. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and pepper. When the molasses mixture is lukewarm, beat in the eggs and vanilla. Pour into the bowl with the flour mixture and stir until well combined. Pour the batter in the prepared pan.

Bake the cake until the top is springy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool on wire rack for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking and cooling, prepare the lemon sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and the cornstarch. Place over medium-high heat and pour in the water, whisking until the mixture just boils and is smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, juice and Grand Marnier, if using. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until it melts and is well incorporated and the sauce is glossy. Serve over squares of the cake.

Makes 8 servings.

Note: The sauce can be made up to three days ahead, cooled, covered and stored in the refrigerator. Gently reheat before serving. The cake has a long shelf life because of the ginger (a natural preservative). Store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week and bring to room temperature before serving.

Source: "Savoring America"


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