My family was over to visit this past November. My sister flew in from Switzerland, Mama and Papa flew in from Indonesia. My apartment had never been happier. It was filled with laughter and warmth. Quoting Mehameha, it was filled with the kind of warmth that can only come from families. Something was always going on, someone was always cooking in the kitchen, conversation was never ending, Wii Sports bowling tournament filled the morning. It was a busy house!
While all of the above sounded great, there is some small downside to things. My apartment is not geared to accommodate 4 (sometimes 6) people. My humble abode is ideal for 1-2 persons, but not 4, much less 6. There were trunks and stuff everywhere. It was almost impossible to make a journey from the bedroom to the bathroom without stepping on someone sleeping in the evening.
In my attempt to make the one-month-family-reunion as smooth and comfortable as possible (and to keep everyone’s sanity intact!), I sought after some help from Stephanie and Hideki. S&H very generously provides refuge and let us use their guest tatami-room, for the entire duration my family was in Japan.
It was during that stay I observe one of Stephanie’s habits that I quickly want to adopt. You see, Stephanie is an excellent cook and baker. She has this giant cookie jar on the kitchen counter that she replenishes every few days with the likes of ginger bread, banana bread, oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins and the variety goes on. It was amazing! She always says to me, “Don’t forget to check the cookie jar in the kitchen if you’re hungry!”
And that I did. Frequently.
Family members left, I am back at home. I caught myself thinking longingly of the cookie jar on Stephanie’s kitchen counter. What is inside it today?
So, in memory of Stephanie’s kitchen giant cookie jar, I pledge you my Ginger Bread.
(I think my family will say to me, “Nice, Tari, too little too late. You should have done this in November while we were still in Tokyo!”)
(recipe adapted the MOP way, inspired by Alison Holst)
100 g butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup honey
1 cup low-fat milk (well the girl can always try!)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-meal flour
3 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Directions to cook:
- Nuke the butter for 45 seconds (600 W)
- In a large bowl, cream it with the sugar using an electric mixer (you’re welcome to whisk it yourself, but I opt the short cut, since I have an electric mixer) until light-colored
- Add the eggs and beat again
- Warm the golden syrup just enough to make it runny (I nuked it also for 45 seconds in 600W)
- Stir in the milk, leave to sit
- Sift or sieve the dry ingredients together
- Fold the syrup mixture and dry ingredients alternately into the butter mixture. Take care not to overmix
- Fold together only until no pockets of dry flour remain
- Turn into two loaf pans each lined with a strip of baking paper (so it’s easy to turn out after cooking)
- Bake at 150C for 40 minutes (I’m using electric microwave oven). If you’re using gas oven, check after 30 minutes
- After it’s done, leave to sit until it cools down. Cut into the size you want and store in the cookie jar.
- Take one or two every morning as you run to the door and to work!