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Carol Kicinski
The smell of fall will fill your home while you bake this delicious gluten-free ginger bread.

Get ready for fall with gluten-free ginger bread

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   Gingerbread is one of those things that in the past I have liked the idea of more than the actuality. I love the way the house smells all cozy and comforting as it bakes. I love the homey, unpretentiousness of it, the simplicity. What I have not been so fond of was the taste. Until now that is.
   I happened to stumble upon a recipe for fresh ginger cake from David Lebovitz. He uses fresh ginger as opposed to dried in the cake and I was intrigued. I am a huge fan of fresh ginger but don’t care too much for the dried version. I thought perhaps fresh ginger would make a difference.
   Rather than make a cake I opted for a loaf – ginger bread instead of gingerbread. And I opted to make it not just gluten-free but grain-free with the use of almond meal.
   The fresh ginger made all the difference! I really, really like this bread! It is moist, tender, and almost cake-like and my house smelled like my own private piece of heaven while it baked.
   The bread is simple to make; the only hard part was waiting for almost 2 hours to taste it. It takes an hour to bake and then it needs to cool in the pan for at least 45 minutes. As difficult as it may be to wait out the cooling period, I strongly advise you resist the urge to rush it; the bread will slice much easier if
Gluten-Free Fresh Ginger Bread with Quick Vanilla Pear Butter
Makes 1 loaf and ¾ cup pear butter
For the Bread:
4 ounces fresh ginger (a piece about 4 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick), peeled a grated or minced
½ cup organic blackstrap molasses
½ cup organic honey
3 large organic, cage free eggs
½ cup grapeseed (or vegetable) oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2½ cups fine, blanched almond meal
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Pear Butter:
3 medium pears, peeled cored and chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
2-3 tablespoons organic honey
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8½ inch by 4½ inch loaf pan with cooking spray or brush with oil. Line with a piece of parchment paper and grease the paper.
   Combine the ginger, molasses, honey, eggs, oil, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
   Put the almond meal in a blender with the salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper and pulse a few times to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the almond meal mixture and blend for about 30 seconds or until really smooth and pour into the prepared pan. (If you don’t have a blender, just whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl and then whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The bread will be a little lighter and softer if made in the blender.)
   Bake for 1 hour. After 35-40 minutes, lightly place a piece of foil over the bread to keep it from getting too brown on top. Let cool in the pan for 45-60 minutes. Cut into thick slices with a serrated knife.
   While the bread is cooling, make the pear butter. Place the pears in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a plate or piece of plastic wrap and cook on high power for 6-7 minutes or until the pears are very tender. Let cool slightly. Remove pears with a slotted spoon, discarding the liquid. Place pears in a small food processor or blender with the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of honey. Puree until well combined. Taste the pear butter and add more honey if desired.
you do and the texture will be more even.
   To go along with my ginger bread I made some really quick and simple vanilla pear butter. Really it is more like pear sauce than actual pear butter but it takes 10 minutes to make and tastes divine so that is
fine by me.
   It is warm and sunny here in Florida; there is no vibrant burst of fall color or cool, crisp dip in temperatures but this ginger bread and pear butter made me feel like fall is in the air.