I love being lulled to sleep by the rhythmic sound of rain. Waking up to the same sound is a close second. The sloshing from the downpour and cars driving through puddles has the ability to transport me away and I just want to lie there and listen to the steady splattering. I can ruminate about the where all that rain water goes after it splashes against my window or reminisce about rainy days as a child when my mom would serve me a breakfast of hot sweetened milk and toasted french bread before school. It sometimes makes me long for simpler days that way.
The past couple of days, we've been having a bit of a rain storm (not really that stormy--I live in California) and it's been pretty nice waking up to the pitter-pattering against the roof. Monday was extra-special since I had that day off from work, so not only did I have an extra day to lie in bed and listen to the rain, I could spend all morning in my pajamas, nursing a steaming cup of tea (I'm a tea person, though I also love the way coffee smells). And that's pretty much what I did. There are few perfect mornings like that.
I took advantage of my leisurely morning and made a gingerbread from the Williams-Sonoma Dessert cookbook. When I go to the mall, I sometimes like to pass my time at the Williams-Sonoma store, where everything is so shiny and bright. Their cookbooks are kind of like that, too, with big, beautiful, colorful pictures for every recipe, and are maybe even more suitable for the coffee table than the kitchen. I don't know why I picked this recipe, it doesn't have anything to do with rainy mornings, except that it looked easy to make and the kind of thing you could have with tea like in Remains of the Day, though I don't know if the English really do have gingerbread with their tea. That evening I brought some of the gingerbread to a friend's place, who served it with ice cream--which I don't think the English would do while having tea--but any way you'd like to have it, it's kind of nice for a rainy day.
Adapted from Dessert from Williams-Sonoma
Makes one 8" round cake, about 8 slices
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1-1/2 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cinammon
1/4 t. grated nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
6 T. butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I prefer light)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup warm water
powdered sugar for dusting
vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, and grease a 8" round cake pan or square baking pan, dusting it with flour.
Mix the dry ingredients together by hand with a wire whisk in a bowl. In another bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together on low to medium speed until fluffy. Continue mixing on low, adding one egg at a time until combined well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix in the molasses on low. Pour in the flour mixture and mix until the ingredients are just combined, then add the water and mix until the batter is even and smooth. Pour the batter into the pan and bake on the middle rack until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Allow the gingerbread to cool in the pan. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with the vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.