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Chocolate cake


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Chocolate-Glazed Gingerbread

Mocha-Rum Risotto

Brutti ma Buoni al Cacao

Election Day Cake

Chocolate-Walnut Mandelbrot

Sweet Spot


Chocolate-Glazed Gingerbread

Tips: I tried making several versions of chocolate gingerbread, but to me part of the appeal of gingerbread is its gorgeous color, and of course the chocolate masked that. So I ended up by leaving well enough alone, and merely providing a chocolate glaze for the top. Ginger and chocolate are a winning combination, and here you get beautiful contrasting colors as well as a good flavor match. This is an informal dessert that would be equally at home at a tailgate party or in your kitchen with a tall glass of cold milk (or a steaming mug of hot coffee). There is a definite taste of spice in this gingerbread, but it is not as strong as some others I’ve eaten. Try it as written first; you can increase the levels of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and/or pepper for subsequent bakings if you wish.

This will keep for a day or two at room temperature, or for a few days longer if refrigerated (cover tightly when cold, and always bring to room temperature before serving). In addition, you can freeze any leftovers (defrost, still in wrappings, in refrigerator). If you like nuts in your gingerbread, I recommend using about 3/4 cup chopped, lightly toasted (and cooled, of course!) pecans or walnuts. Sprinkle the nuts on top of the glaze immediately after it’s spread on top of the gingerbread. Because the batter is so thin when it goes into the pan, any nuts you add to it will sink to the bottom during baking. I use Grandma’s Molasses, readily available in local markets. “Light” molasses isn’t really light in color or flavor, but the designation is used to differentiate it from darker, stronger blackstrap molasses, which would overwhelm the other flavors here.


  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, stirred with a fork before measuring
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • Generous pinch of finely, freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, graded “large”, preferably not refrigerator-cold
  • 3/4 cup light molasses
  • 1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 9 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into thin pats
  • Few grains of salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. hot water
  • 2 tsp. light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

For gingerbread: Grease and lightly flour a 13 by 9 inch baking pan, at least 1-1/2 inches deep. Set aside. Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Into medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl of electric mixer, cream softened butter and sugar for a minute or two until well-blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; beat until well-blended. Scrape bowl and beater(s) thoroughly at frequent intervals during mixing process to ensure thorough blending of ingredients.

With mixer on low speed, add sifted dry ingredients in three additions and molasses in two additions, beginning and ending with sifted dry ingredients and mixing after each addition just until combined. The batter will be quite thick and a beautiful dark golden color.

With mixer on lowest speed, gradually (very gradually, at first) add boiling water, mixing after each addition just until blended. About halfway through adding water, make sure to stop mixer and scrape down bowl and beater(s), paying special attention to the bottom of the bowl. After last addition of water, beat in just until combined. Batter will be very thin.

Pour batter into prepared pan; level and make sure batter is well-pushed into corners. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning pan once back-to-front about halfway through baking time. This may seem a short baking time for a pan of this size, but this batter seems to go from still liquid inside to overbaked very quickly, so keep an eye on it. Gingerbread is done when toothpick inserted just off center emerges with only a few moist crumbs still clinging to it. Remove baked gingerbread to cooling rack; cool completely before glazing.

For glaze: In medium heatproof bowl, combine finely chopped chocolate, butter pats, and salt. Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir often until almost melted. Remove from heat and hot water; stir until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, combine chocolate, butter, and salt in medium microwaveable bowl. Microwave at 50% (medium) power for short intervals, stirring well after each, just until melted and smooth.)

All at once, add hot water to melted chocolate mixture; stir in until smooth. Stir in corn syrup and vanilla.

Allow glaze to stand at room temperature, stirring often, until completely cooled and slightly thickened. Pour glaze over top of gingerbread; immediately spread as evenly as possible (glaze will set quickly). Store at cool room temperature, covered, for a day or two; refrigerate or freeze for longer storage. Note: if storing glazed gingerbread at room temperature, allow glaze to set, then cover with cake safe or heavy-duty aluminum foil. If your cover touches the glaze, the glaze will stick to it; regular-weight foil invariably ends up sinking over the top of the pan and causing this problem, but heavy-duty foil can be pulled taut enough to avoid it in most cases.

Yields: 12 to 16 servings

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