I have never made a gingerbread loaf before but that bottle of organic molasses looked too sexy not to buy. I’ve been eyeing it for a year now. I always stayed away from molasses thinking they are unhealthy being a byproduct of sugar manufacturing. Ha, not the case, particularly with unsulphured organic molasses. It is a healthful sweetener containing a handful of nutrients and minerals.
I have put together a page with Clean Eating ingredients I Buy where I list products I use on a regular basis. While I find savoury dishes quite simple to “clean up”, when it comes to baking you really have to rediscover a new world of ingredients as white sugar and flour do not cut it anymore. It might give you a good idea what products are considered wholesome and what to look for when shopping.
Gingerbread is entirely new concept to me although as a kid I remember little dark cookies with round white tops imported from Germany or Poland. They were very close to gingerbread or maybe that was it?!
Last week I whipped up my first healthy gingerbread loaf. I could see the sugars shining on top along with a crack Betty Crocker would envy. I’m sure she never baked without white sugar either…
First time, I used maple syrup as a sweetener and everyone loved the loaf! I was just too lazy to blend the dates. This week I experimented sweetening the bread with dates, which requires a bit more work and cleaning but deep down we all know fructose is healthier than even lightly processed maple syrup.
I should also mention this heart healthy gingerbread contains zero oil, instead is moistened with unsweetened applesauce (from my garden, wohoo). I am not against healthy oils like cold pressed coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil or even grass fed organic butter, not at all! But using applesauce seemed so natural in a gingerbread plus I have a freezer full of about 70 cups of it.
The other part that always mesmerized me about the Holidays baking is the icing. White, drippy, glossy…simply sexy! Of course we all know it’s made with powdered sugar which is a big no-no in clean eating for MANY reasons.
So, believe it or not you can make freaking the best icing with full fat coconut milk! I first learnt it from Miryam, tried with my Berry Coffee Cake and so many of you wrote me back saying it was amazing. Someone has mentioned the icing soaked right in, so I got down to experimenting and here are my two cents.
DO NOT shake the coconut milk can. Scoop the cream on top (Trader Joe’s coconut cream, Native Forest, Blue Monkey and most imported brands have that) and add a tbsp or two of any milk or water to make it easier to drizzle. Some brands of milk, like Thai Kitchen, need to be placed in the fridge overnight to have that cream accumulate on top. You can do that or place the bowl with prepared “icing” in the fridge for 15 minutes to thicken before drizzling.
Happy Holidays and no deprivation please but rather moderation of wholesome desserts! Also check out 7 Secrets of Healthy Holiday Indulgence.
- 2 eggs, large (for vegan version use 2 flax eggs)
- 1 + 1/4 cups applesauce, unsweetened
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (substitute with 5 pitted Medjool dates + 1/4 cup any milk/applesauce)
- 1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated*
- 2 + 3/4 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder, aluminum free
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
- Cooking spray (I use Misto)
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk, full fat
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 9" x 5" non-stick loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, lightly whisk eggs and add remaining Wet Ingredients. If using dates, blend them with applesauce in a powerful blender until smooth, then add remaining Wet Ingredients and give a few more pulses to combine.
- In a large bowl, mix together Dry Ingredients, add Wet Ingredients and gently stir until combined. Do not over mix. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes if using dates or 50 minutes for maple syrup or honey version. Ovens vary so check with a toothpick inserted in the centre of the bread. Bread is ready when it comes out clean. Remove from the oven, let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool down completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk Icing ingredients. DO NOT shake the coconut milk can. Scoop the cream on top (Trader Joe's coconut cream, Native Forest, Blue Monkey and most imported brands have that) and add a tbsp or two of any milk or water to make it easier to drizzle. Some brands of milk, like Thai Kitchen, need to be placed in the fridge overnight to have that cream accumulate on top. You can do that or place the bowl with prepared "icing" in the fridge for 15 minutes to thicken before drizzling. Drizzle on top of cooled down loaf, cut into 10 slices and enjoy.
*I can't recommend using dried ground ginger because I think it is really a totally different taste. You can buy a small piece of ginger root, and freeze what you don't use. You can use the root right out of the freezer - don't need to defrost. If you have a microplane (grater that is really a hardware store rasp), you don't even need to peel the root before you use it.
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Amount Per Serving = 1 slice:
Total Fat: 3.4 g
Cholesterol: 37.2 mg
Sodium: 232.2 mg
Total Carbs: 47.6 g
Sugars: 18.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.5 g
Protein: 5.8 g
WW Points+: 6