In my opinion, December is one of the best months for eating great food. Butternut squash is bountiful. Soups and stews keep you warm. And the fragrant spices of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger are present in so many delicious recipes.
Typically, I think of these spices as being added to cookies and cakes, mixing with molasses to create gingerbread treats. What's great about this recipe is that it moves gingerbread to the savory realm, all while maintaining its deeply spicy flavor.
Though the croutons do take a bit of time to make, they will instantly amplify anything you put them on. As they cool, you can prepare a salad—I thought they worked great with beets, oranges, and arugula (pictured above), the recipe for which can be found here.
Spicy Gingerbread Croutons
Makes enough to top 8 salads
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup roasted walnut oil (or sub extra-virgin olive oil)
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease an 9x13 inch baking dish. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, chipotle chile powder, cloves, and salt in a large bowl. Place the walnut oil and brown sugar in a food processor and process until well combined. Add the egg and process until smooth. Add the molasses, process again.
Pour in the flour mixture and process until a smooth batter forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the coffee, and process again until well-incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, smooth it with a rubber spatula, and bake until set but still soft and slightly spongy, about 13 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, but leave the oven on. Set a cutting board over the baking dish, flip them both, then remove the baking dish, leaving the cake on the cutting board. If it doesn't come out cleanly, help it out by patting the back of the baking dish or loosening the cake with a knife.
While still warm, cut the cake into 1-inch squares and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until toasted and crispy, about 15 minutes. Turn the squares onto a wire rack and cool completely, about 2 hours.
Once cooled, use them to top your favorite salads. (Or just snack on them plain—they're pretty addicting).
Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Dinner Parties.