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Nov 6, 2008 11:17 AM

Anyone try Cooks' Country's take on the Gramercy Gingerbread?

Noticed in the December/January issue that CC has a gingerbread, made with stout. Looked pretty similar to the Gramercy Tavern recipe, which I love. Anyone tried it?

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  1. I get so peevish about Cooks and America's Test Kitchen (Now called, I guess "Cooks' Country") because of their overblown opinion of themselves. I can't stand the intros with the description of some hideous dish that is SOGGY! DRY! OVERCOOKED! TASTELESS!, etc.

    I've made the Oatmeal Stout Gingerbread several times and love it. Despite my ravings above, I would like to see what they did with it. Will have to check it out.

    5 Replies
    1. re: oakjoan

      I completely agree with you as it relates to experienced cooks and bakers, but, I do think CI and say, for instance, Martha Stewart, with her perfection obsession, have a place in our society. There are a LOT of inexperienced cooks out there, people who didn't have the benefit of growing up learning to cook from an experienced person in a hands on way. We've really come away from home cooking in America, and personally, I think we really suffer for it. So, CI and MS help a lot of these folks out by educating them as to what's not so desirable, what good food looks and tastes like, and how to get there. Hopefully, many of these inexperienced cooks will move on to a more improvisational method once they get some basics under their belt, so to speak, and develop likes and dislikes. But, I have been amazed by how many people find boring, tasteless food delicious, simply because they've never tasted anything better in their lives. I can't tell you how many people flipped at parties I threw in my twenties because they'd never tasted an aged cheddar, or a slow cooked braise, etc. Really, it was bittersweet how many of my friends had been raised on frozen food.

      As for the Gramercy gingerbread, I LOVE that recipe, so will have a look at the newstand this month and compare. Interesting! Thanks for the heads up, gw88.

      1. re: oakjoan

        Actually, Cooks Country is not the new name for ATK, it's just one of their publications-a little more casual than some of their other recipes, more old fashioned recipes, more quick recipes. NOt all fabulous by any means, but much of it is very good and works well when I'm cooking for my children. While I agree their pretentious commentary can sometimes be really annoying, I love the discussion of the science behind what happens when we cook, and some of their recipes are truly innovative or fabulous-I have way more successes than failures.

        So, the differences between the epicurious Gramercy Tavern recipe (the only one I've made, and it's wonderful) and the CI one:
        Flour: 2 1/2 c. CC, 2 C epi
        Baking Powder: 2 tsp CC, 1 1/2 tsp epi
        Baking Soda: 3/4 tsp CC, 1/2 tsp epi
        Salt: 3/4 tsp CC, none in epi
        Shortening: CC has 2 sticks of butter, epi has 3/4 c vegetable oil
        Ginger: 2 TBS both
        Cinnamon: 2 tsp CC, 1 tsp epi
        Allspice: 1 tsp CC, none in epi
        Pepper: 1/4 tsp CC, none in epi
        Cloves: 1/4 tsp in epi, none in CC
        Nutmeg: 1/4 tsp in epi, none in CC
        Cardamom: pinch in epi, none in CC
        Eggs: 4 in CC, 3 in epi
        Sugar: 1 1/2 C white in CC, 1 C brown in epi
        Fresh ginger: 4 tsp grated in CC, none in epi
        Molasses: 3/4 cup in CC, 1 cup in ep
        Stout: 3/4 cup in CC (they recommend Guinness), 1 C in epi

        CI has you briefly cook the spices in the butter, and cook the cake for 45 minutes at 375. You then glaze it with a mixture of ground ginger, ginger ale, and powdered sugar.

        Epi has you cook the cake for 50 minutes at 350.

        And yes, I've had good luck with the baking spray but it still seems to stick a bit (I like the candied stuck on bits, though).

        1. re: girlwonder88

          The CC recipe seems to make a slightly larger batch (1/2 c flour more), though the batter may be stiffer (less molasses and stout). Most of the other flavorings are stronger in the CC version. The pepper add a bit of a bite that will complement the ginger. The small amounts of cloves and cardamon in the epi version probably aren't detected.

          1. re: girlwonder88

            I just made the epi version, differing only in that I omitted the brown sugar. The batter was quite wet, and by the time the center was done the edges were caramelized. And as others have noted it does tend to stick. The dryer CC version might have less of this problem.

            By way of comparison, I've been making a pumpkin bread with many of the same spices, though not as heavy on the molasses. I've also made a Yorkshire ginger bread, parkin, that uses equal parts of flour and rolled oats. Both are noticeably stiff batters. The parkin is dry enough that it benefits from sitting tighly wrapped for several days.

            1. re: paulj

              I liked this attempt. It had a good intense flavor, with a somewhat chewy surface (especially around the pan sides), tender moist interior. Not overly sweet, but then I did cut the sugar in half, only using 1 cup of white sugar. But that makes it fine breakfast, right?

              As to the beer, I used a bottle that I'd recently opened for an after dinner sip, a Moose Drool brown ale. It's dark, but not overly hoppy. Since reviews talk of malty, caramel, molasses, chocolate flavors, I think this was a good choice.

        2. There are a couple of versions of the Gramercy bread, one much sweeter than the other. Can you identify the key differences in the CC version? Usually ATK tries to be clear about how they are improving existing recipes.

          Do they, for example, discuss the various ways of adding ginger flavor to the bread. Some survive the baking better than others. They also complement each other in ways.

          How about the choice of stout? A sweeter one like Oatmeal stout, or a hoppier one? Any need to let it go flat? How about adding baking soda to the stout and/or molasses?

          There was a recent thread about the bread sticking in a bunt pan. On a different show ATK claimed that baker's spray (the kind with flour) was very effective in pans like this. My own experience confirms that.

          1. I made it a couple of days ago. It seemed to be baking too quickly so I lowered the temperature to 350, instead of the 375 in the recipe.

            It has a very good, strong ginger flavour. I liked the texture better than the Gramercy Tavern recipe. It's a bit drier, and lighter.

            I also had the Tavern recipe stick in the pan but the Cook's Country didn't. I used a generous amount of Pam for Baking on my Bundt pan.

            I'd make this recipe again. But my favourite gingerbread recipe remains the Starbuck' s version with crystallized ginger in the cream cheese icing.

            1. Nope. But I do make the Gramercy gingerbread (the real version published in the cookbook aka less sweet one in epi). I find it bakes best in a 9 X 3 cake pan. No problems with release this year-- used parchment on the bottom.