December was made for baking. Holiday visitors, the long, cold nights and evenings spent in front of a crackling fire all call for something sweet and comforting. Not a week goes by now where I don’t buy a fresh supply of sugar and flour, eggs and butter, and one of the first things I bake at Christmastime is this Irish stout gingerbread.
The earthiness of the stout provides a contrast to the zing of the ginger and the sour cream keeps the gingerbread moist for days — perfect for cutting into small squares or slices for a little nibble throughout the day or with a cup of tea.
Even if baking isn’t your forte, this recipe couldn’t be easier. It’s a dump-and-stir kind of recipe where everything gets melted together in one pot and then poured into the baking tin. It’s so simple and straightforward that I let my seven-year-old make it this year. You can have a tray of this gingerbread ready, from start to finish, within an hour. If you want to push the boat out and dress it up a bit, try serving it with a scoop of brown bread and Irish stout ice cream alongside (or why not try making two batches of gingerbread and using some instead of the brown bread in the ice cream?).
I didn’t change a thing from Nigella Lawson’s recipe (other than to use an Irish craft beer instead of Guinness, of course!), so click here for a metric version or click here for the American version if you prefer using cups instead of weights (though the American version doesn’t list using a 9 inch square pan as an option, which is what I used). If you don’t have or can’t get golden syrup, you can use molasses or treacle instead, which makes for a darker, stickier gingerbread, but you might want to bump up the ginger to 2 1/2 teaspoons since the stronger flavour of the molasses/treacles mutes it somewhat.