Lighthouse in winter: The 2007 Gingerbread Gallery displayed this confection. MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTO
For a festive fix in between holiday errands, stop at
local coffee shops, where pumpkin lattes morph into those with a
gingerbread twist. Savvy marketer Matt Godard of Café Kubal, 3521 James
St. (299-8300), keeps this drink on the menu most of the year, changing
its name with the seasons. For now it is the Pumpkin Spice Latte but by
Black Friday, Nov. 28, it will again be known as the Gingerbread Latte
($3.35 small, $3.95 for a medium, $4.35 for large).
If you’re lucky enough to have an espresso machine at
home, his recipe can keep you in the holiday spirit until it’s time to
take your lights down in July. Make as much or as little as you want.
Cafe Kubal Gingerbread Latte
2 parts turbinado sugar
2 parts cinammon
1 part nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
Allow spoonful of mixture to dissolve in steamed milk, then pour into espresso shot.
And at Freedom of Espresso’s four locations, it can be
Christmas in July, if you so desire, with the Syracuse café’s
gingerbread-flavored syrup available year-round. Barista Jilleen
Needle, who was working at the Franklin Square shop recently, says she
will add the syrup to coffee, iced and hot lattes, espressos and milks.
And she will make the drink to order, so if you don’t want too much of
the sweet stuff, just tell her and she’ll back off.
Lattes at Freedom of Espresso run cost $3, $3.25, $3.75 and $5; add gingerbread syrup for an additional 50 cents.
Panera Bread has the perfect on-the-go coffee complement:
a gingerbread bagel ($2.45). The bagel is definitely more than a
breakfast treat, featuring bits of ginger together with cinnamon and
nutmeg, and white chocolate and cinnamon chips. It is served with
hazelnut cream cheese, but you can order any flavor you like.
You’ll find Panera Bread at 3409 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt
(446-3841); 530 Towne Drive, Fayetteville (637-7960); 5701 E. Circle
Drive, Cicero (458-9436); and 3815 Route 31, Clay (652-8538).
If your visions of gingerbread take a liquid form, brew
some gingersnap-flavored coffee beans from Gloria Jean’s coffee ($13.99
per pound), available online at www.gloriajeans.com or by phone at
(800) 354-5282, Ext. 6703. If you’re driving to Rochester, check out
Gloria Jean’s two stores there, at Eastview Mall, off Interstate 490 in
Victor, and at Greece Ridge Center Mall, off Interstate 390 and Route
104 in the western part of the city.
Wegmans carries a gingerbread-flavored, whole-bean coffee
in a 12-ounce pouch ($7.99) so you can brew a pot at home anytime you
A few items on your grocery list can complete this
seasonal snack. Coffee-Mate’s gingerbread creamer sweetens up your java
or Celestial Seasonings’ gingerbread spice tea offers a caffeine-free
alternative. A supply of limited-time, gingerbread-flavored Pop-Tarts
rounds out the sugar rush.
While a box of Pop-Tarts and a bottle of creamer can give
a quick ginger fix, there are more authentic ways of getting into the
spirit of gingerbread. Those who know their way around the kitchen have
most likely attempted a gingerbread house on a past Christmas or two.
Those that don’t dare turn on the oven, much less construct a house
from sugar and flour, can enjoy the hard work of their neighbors at the
23rd annual Gingerbread Gallery at the Erie Canal Museum, 318 Erie
Blvd. E. (471-0593). The gingerbread exhibit kicks off Friday, Nov. 28,
and it continues through Dec. 31. Hours are Mondays to Saturdays, 10
a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $5 for
adults, $4 for senior citizens and $2 for children 12 and under.
There are three categories that compete for ribbons:
youth (12 and under), family/group and seniors (65 years and older).
Confectioners compete in their own category for a $500 first-place
prize, $200 second-place prize and $150 third-place prize. The final
competition is the corporate gingerbread challenge and the winner
claims the category trophy to display for one year. Winners will be
announced Wednesday, Dec. 3.
Donna Faulkner secured her place in the family/group
category and is now hard at work with her mother, Cathy Sprague,
building her entry. This is her fourth year competing and while
Faulkner isn’t wrapped up in winning, she has taken first place in an
amateur category and second place in the confectioner’s category. “It’s
about spending time together,” she explains. “This is wonderful to
spend time with family. We sit down and talk and create something
Faulkner estimates she will put close to 40 hours into
her “Gingerbread Dreams” creation, a sugar-laden gingerbread scene
complete with a smaller gingerbread playhouse, a snowman in the yard
and handmade candy details.
If you have personally had a gingerbread dream, you might
think you know what to expect at a gingerbread house gallery, but Rory
Bergman, director of development and marketing for the Erie Canal
Museum, can assure you that you haven’t seen it all yet. “We have some
people that do Erie Canal themes, and holiday themes such as the rescue
of Santa or Santa’s castle,” she explains. “And then there has been a
Halloween-themed Creepy Crawly Castle and a lighthouse. People can be
as creative as they want. One year the winner did a circus. It’s really
All this talk of sugar and spice may have your kids in
the mood to try to build their own gingerbread creation. There’s still
time to sign up for one of the museum’s children’s workshops to be held
Saturdays, Dec. 6 and 13, at 11 a.m. Parents accompany their kids
through the gingerbread gallery to gather inspiration and then build a
gingerbread house to take home, under the careful eye of an instructor.
The event is $8 for non-members and $5 for members. Reservations are
required as class size is limited.
Have you caught gingerbread-house fever but don’t have
the time or patience to make your own? Try your hand at a simple and
sweet graham cracker version. Doctor a can of store-bought white
frosting by mixing in a quarter-teaspoon cream of tartar per cup of
frosting. Use the frosting as glue to hold together four sheets of
graham crackers (the base of the house). When the foundation is stable,
add two half-sheets of crackers together on top for the roof. Let the
structure dry for about an hour before using the frosting to attach
candy and gumdrops to your heart’s content. While you won’t have the
ginger flavor, and it’s a smallish version, you’ll have the gingerbread
house feel in a fraction of the time.
If visions of gingerbread dance in your head while you
dream, you may wake up craving the cookies. Whip up this healthy
breakfast treat instead.
This recipe is from www.foodnetwork.com.
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup water
¼ cup brewed coffee
2½ cups white unbleached flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
In a large bowl, mix eggs and brown sugar until well
combined. Add buttermilk, water and brewed coffee, and stir to combine.
In another large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking
soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add the liquid
ingredients to the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in
the melted butter.
Grease a griddle or heavy skillet. Heat griddle or
skillet over medium-high heat and then add the batter, by ladle-fulls.
Cook until little bubbles appear around the edges of the pancake, and
then flip. Cook on the second side until golden brown and cooked
through in the middle. Serve immediately.