Gingerbread has been on my list of things to bake for a long time. There’s something about the warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, mixed with molasses that makes gingerbread sound so appealing. You already know my feelings about rolling out dough, so gingerbread cookies were not an option. I love having a quick bread around for breakfast, an afternoon snack or dessert, so I figured a gingerbread loaf would be the perfect way to get my gingerbread fix.
One of the main ingredients in gingerbread is molasses, which is what gives the bread its distinct caramel coloring and flavor. I love using molasses as a sweetener because it’s actually healthy for you! Molasses is a good source of calcium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. Although molasses is not sweet enough on its own, maple syrup pairs really well with it and is also high in manganese and zinc. (Is anyone else excited about how many vitamins and minerals we can get just from eating gingerbread?)
This bread was everything that I wanted for the days leading up to Christmas. Just the smell coming from my oven while this was baking was enough to put me in the Christmas spirit! The bread is slightly sweet, with just the right balance of molasses and maple syrup. The spices are prominent, but not overly so, and are the perfect blend of how I think gingerbread should taste. The bread is extremely moist, and stays that way for a few days. The secret is the applesauce in place of some of the oil, which keeps the bread from getting dry while lowering the amount of fat. I even tried making this with a gluten free flour baking blend and the texture was great! It has a perfect crumb and the top is beautifully domed, as you would expect with any quick bread.
My craving for gingerbread quickly turned into a healthy option amidst all of the sugary treats of Christmas. This is a quick, delicious recipe that would be wonderful to make for all of your holiday guests or food gift needs! Nothing says “Merry Christmas” better than a warm slice of gingerbread alongside your morning coffee or tea!
Wishing you all a wonderful and merry Christmas!