the 4th & 5th days of Christmas

I’m going to go ahead & apologize straight away. I’m sorry. I missed yesterday. I nearly missed today. It’s been crazy times, between finishing finals, getting ready for holiday travels & endless time spent deep-cleaning the kitchen.

I’ve been talking a lot lately about the magic of chocolate-covered gingerbread. It was our first introduction to French Christmas celebrations, & I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Today, in preparation for our time with Joe’s family, I made a large batch.

Earlier in the season, I made lebkuchen, a crispy gingerbread that I then dipped in milk chocolate. it was yummy, but it wasn’t the same. My first & best taste of chocolate-dipped gingerbread was more of a spice cake in a thick, almost crunchy chocolate shell. Today, I came much closer without loosing too much of the true gingerbready-ness of the gingerbread.

I’m pretty sure that if you laid this out for Santa with a tall glass of milk, he’d slip anything you like under that tree.

This recipe is a halfed & modified version (with molasses & white sugar rather than golden syrup & brown sugar) of Nigella Lawson’s Guinness Gingerbread. A friend mentioned that she made the Guinness gingerbread every year, so I thought I’d give it a try since lately we’ve had more stout on hand.

The only unfortunate thing about this recipe was that I had to half it. Our supply of sorghum molasses, one of the most special gifts from our community-supported agriculture program, was running low. I had to scrape & shake & shake-while-scraping to get half a cup. That said, I ended up with 24 individual servings. Rather than a large pan, I used my mini-bundt pan. They came out adorable… but now I have to scrub a mini-bundt pan.


  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) of butter
  • 1/2 cup of molasses
  • 1/2 cup of finely granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) of your favorite stout
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • several dashes of clove
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 cup  of flour
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1 egg


  1. In a medium-sized pot, combine butter, molasses, sugar, stout & spices. Heat & whisk gently until well-combined & just starting to boil. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for a few seconds.
  2. Add the baking soda. Whisk & give the bubbles time to settle. Add the flour in one go. Whisk well. Scrape the sides & whisk again. Make sure you’ve gotten out all the lump & gotten it to a homogenous texture.
  3. Whisk together the egg & sour cream in a separate bowl. Add to the batter, & mix well.
  4. Grease whatever pan you’re using–an 8’x8′, cupcake, mini-bundt or a high-sided full-sized bundt pan (which would still probably leave you enough batter for a few individual gingerbreads). Pour in batter to 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes if using one large pan, or 30 minutes if you’re making smaller sizes. The bread should be glossy & begin to pull from the sides of the pan.
  6. Allow the breads to cool in their pan for two minutes before inverting & shaking onto a cooling rack.

When the gingerbread was completely cool, I made this glaze recipe from (never home)maker, halving the recipe as she suggests (& still having tons left over). What was convenient here was that I’d made the small cakes & could just dip their top halves right into the bowl of frosting.

This recipe is outstanding. The frosting gets that nice outer shell, & the cake is spongy–light without too much sugar. That just means it’s easy to eat five of them at a time. May or may not be a bad thing. I hope you enjoy them & make them into one of your own best-loved Christmas memories.


About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
This entry was posted in being French and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to the 4th & 5th days of Christmas

  1. Pingback: 12 days of Christmas are coming! | francofile

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