I know, I said I would post something healthy and nutritious, but I’m not (yet). I made these sticky gingerbread bars with maple buttercream and pecan praline over Christmas and completely forgot to share the recipe (despite taking photos etc). I know they’re a little unseasonal now but it’s still winter so why not hang on to all that is spicy and indulgent?!
For the gingerbread:
- 250g butter
- 250g soft dark brown sugar
- 80g black treacle
- 180g golden syrup
- 325ml milk
- 375g plain flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- pinch mixed spice
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 eggs
For the maple buttercream:
- 100g soft butter
- 600g icing sugar
- 100g cold maple toffee sauce (shop bought OR made by melting together 75g butter, 50g golden syrup, 3tbsp maple syrup and 75g dark brown soft sugar, bringing to the boil then adding 50ml double cream and a pinch salt)
- 2tbsp milk
For the pecan praline:
- 100g granulated sugar
- 100g roughly chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 170c (fan). Grease and line a square brownie tray (about 20x20cm).
- Melt together the butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Stir occasionally then take off the heat and mix in the milk. Leave for 10 minutes to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. Stir the eggs to break them up and incorporate some flour, then start gradually adding your buttery syrup liquid. Continue mixing (I do this with a wooden spoon) until all the liquid has been incorporated and you have a lump free batter.
- Pour into the prepared tray and bake for 45-55 minutes. When it is ready a skewer should come out with just a few moist crumbs attached when inserted.
- While the gingerbread is cooking, make the maple toffee sauce (if you’re not using shop bought); the method for this is in the ingredients list above.
- Once cooked turn the gingerbread onto a wire rack to cool.
- Now make your pecan praline. Simply place the pecans and sugar in a heavy bottom pan and heat gently until the sugar begins to melt. Tilt the pan occasionally to coat the nuts but don’t feel tempted to stir or the sugar will crystallise. Once the sugar reaches a deep golden colour remove from the heat and pour onto a piece of greaseproof paper to set. Once hard and cool break up the praline into small pieces (or a course dust if you prefer).
- Your final step is to make the buttercream. Put the soft butter in a bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and whisk until light. Gradually add the icing sugar and keep whisking until you have a pale and fluffy buttercream base (this will take 5-10 minutes).
- Once you’ve reached this stage add the milk and toffee sauce and whisk again until it is fully incorporated. The finished buttercream should be light brown in colour.
- To assemble the gingerbread bars simply slice the cake into 12 fingers and drizzle with any remaining toffee sauce you might have (optional) then pipe on the buttercream. Top with the pecan praline and serve.