27 July 2006

Guilt-free Gingerbread - JFI Flour

Slices of Gingerbread still warm from the oven

When Santhi announced flour as the theme for JFI, I thought it would be very easy. I have a stock of flours in my pantry at all times. Mainly:
Wheat flour
Gram flour
Rice flour
Millet flour

But it wasn’t easy at all deciding what to make. Chapatis, Parathas, dosas were too ‘everydayish’ for this wonderful event. Then were the list of fried snacks like murukku, tenkuzhal, ribbon pakoda etc, which I must admit, I avoid making. Ofcourse if mom or my aunts make for me, I love to munch on them!

I thought of baking something then for the event. There are some excellent vegan, fat-free recipes for a healthy living at the PCRM website. Their baking projects are amazingly easy and all that with minimal use of oil. In this case no oil or fat.

Simple wheat flour and semolina is spiked with the bold flavours of ginger, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, sweetened with a mix of sugar and jaggery, fortified with dates and raisins. This bread or cake, if i may call it that, is a breeze to bake and a joy to serve, because it is absolutely guilt-free. It all health and yet full of taste.

Gingerbread slices

The original recipe from PCRM is here. You must check out their vegan food plan for 15 days, with a complete menu and recipes.

Ginger is supposed to a pain-fighting food and this recipe was originally published in the book Foods that fight pain by Dr.Neal Barnard.

spices, raisins, dates


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup semolina (rava)

3 T sugar

3 T grated jaggery

3 T Zero cook and bake (this is the Splenda equivalent available in India -manf. by Alembic)

Handful of pitted, chopped dates

Handful of raisins

1 generous T of grated fresh ginger root

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1/4 tsp clove powder

Pinch of salt

1 3/4 cup water

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder


1. Combine the raisins, dates, sugar, salt, spices, and water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and cool completely (This is important).

2. Once thoroughly cool, preheat oven to 350°F / 175 C. Stir the flours, baking soda, and baking powder together.

3. Add to the cooled fruit mixture and stir to mix. Spread into a 9- x 9-inch pan lined with non-stick foil bake for 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

4. Makes a 9 X9 inch cake. Cut into thin slices and save in an air-tight container.

I have always loved the taste of ginger, be in in tea, or ginger cookies or the ginger snaps. I would always wonder how ginger-bread would taste as it was something that I'd never eaten. After baking this one, I am sure, I will bake this quite frequently. Probably will go a little light on spices or focus on just one spice apart from ginger. The flavour of nutmeg was most pronounced other than the main taste of ginger. There's a load of gingery spicy taste in each bite and for the people who are not great lovers of spice-this may seem a bit of an overload on your taste-buds. But for me- I loved it and so did the hubby!

This one ain't for the weak-hearted !

So here goes my heartfelt entry for Santhi's JFI-Flour.


When it comes to fat-free baking, I'm sure there'll be very few that can come close to this one! For Zero fats, it's a 100/100 for taste.


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Malini said...

Came to your blog through sigfood postings.

The Gingerbread looks yummy. I can smell it!

Did you use crystallized ginger, fresh or powdered? Or a combination of all?

Nandita said...

Woo...that was fast Malini...you see the recipe details now-and glad to find you here, hope to catch you on Ryze
It's fresh ginger -grated!

santhi said...

This Indeed will be a winner in Guit-free foods that taste Gr8 Nandita.

Thank you so very much for participating in the event.

Nabeela said...

oooh! thank you for the recipe....I love low-fat/fat-free recipes that still taste great!

Madhu said...

Wow they look awesome and guilt free indeed. Rich in flavours. I would love to try this recipe. Thanks nanditha for wonderful slices of bread.

Nandita said...

Santhi-glad you liked it

Nabeela, Madhu-I urge you to try this, you will Lovvvvve it!

Priya said...

WOW...the bread looks great. Will surely give it a try this weekend ..and I am glad it does not have eggs :-)

Ashwini said...

Oooh you know how to make the women happy :-)
Those look yummy.
Hey N I heard that blogspot wasnt working in India? People couldnt blog or see other blogs...is that right? How do you update your site then?

Dianne said...

This looks gorgeous, sounds like it tastes gorgeous too. Just wondered if you've made it with flour that isnt what ... if so, how it turned out in terms of texture?

Great post!


Shankari said...

it is mouthwatering, love the taste of ginger, I think I have all the ingredients I need to make this, I will try to bake it this weekend.

Puspha said...

Oh wow!!!! Excellent.

Nandita said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nandita said...

Dianne-I sneaked in half a cup of semolina flour (available as 'rava' in Indian stores) for it's high fibre content and also to give that granular texture. The cake is fairly dense, something you can dip into your coffee and it wont melt in- I expected it to be so as there is no oil / butter / eggs in the recipe. If you substituted half cup of oil into the 1 3/4 cups water, you would get a softer cake.

Shankari- do try and substitute some oil as I've mentioned above-if you'd like a softer cake and if you are not to keen on fat-free cake.

Pushpa- A wow coming from the baking queen herself, is quite an honour :)

RP said...

Gingerbread looks delectable! A must try recipe!

RP said...

Hey, I have all ingredients except zero cook and bake. Any substitutes? Thanks.

mmmim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nandita said...

RP-I used Zero to reduce the sugar content, by all means increase the sugar and jaggery to make up for the Zero, or you may use Splenda.
DO let me know how it turned out.

Menu Today said...

Hi Nandhitha,
Excellent recipe without eggs.Pictures are great. Thanx for sharing.

Anupama said...

Great recipe nandita, I love to bake too but the sugar and the butter needed are the main deterants. I definitely need to avoid those to keep a check on my ever increasing stats.Thanks

Vaishali said...

This one looks good, Nandita. Actually, the bread slices looked almost like biscotti to me the first time. Once I read 'semolina' in the recipe, I knew where the dense texture came from. A sweet bread with dates and without fat or eggs is straight out of my dreams. :)

Nandita said...

Anupama-May be then this is the best bake for you, you can completely replace the sugar and jaggery with splenda and there is not a drop of oil / butter in this recipe

Vaish- Yeah the shape in which I had to cut this one made it look like a biscotti -because i baked it in a 9X9 pan and cut in by half and then sliced them
Do try out, Im sure you'll love it :)

mandira said...

This looks delicious- perfect for my sweet cravings. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

hey Nandita, I love ginger flavoured anything, so I'm kinda waiting to try this one out! Looks yummmm!
Could you please tell me if I can make this in a microwave one, cos that's all I have, and any changes that need to be made if any? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

hi I had a question what does T mean is it tbsp

Shella said...

Hi Nandita

I want to thank you for the recipe. I baked it with some alterations. The cake was very dense & wasnt correctly sweet too. Though it looked very much like what you've posted, but I was not fully satisfied. It probably could be the alterations that I did. Or maybe I should have added that oil you mentioned in the comment. I will be posting my variation about tomorrow. Could you pls do me the favor n go thru the recipe to find out if wht I did would really make a lot of difference. Basically I didnt have the Splenda & jaggery - so I added about 3 tspn each of more sugar more & i/o of jaggery I added brown sugar?? Pls help.

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