Figgy Whole Grain Gingerbread

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        This didn’t start out as gingerbread. The Buckwheat Apricot Cake I adapted slightly for this loaf is a favorite that I’ve been meaning to make. I just couldn’t stand the thought of missing gingerbread season. While it is unfair to relegate this spicy confection to winter holidays, it’s only natural to crave gingerbread this time of year.
        I hesitated to call my bread whole grain for fear of scaring off gingerbread purists. While I don’t think those purists would be disappointed in this recipe, they probably wouldn’t call it gingerbread. It’s no butter and sugar-laden loaf but the flavor is there and the texture is dreamy as far as I’m concerned. Sit down in front of your Christmas tree and try a hunk of this gingerbread with a cold glass of milk or a cup of tea.
        The bulgar provides chewy heft without sacrificing moistness. The sweet, crunchy figs and crystalized ginger go so well with the deep molasses flavor. I only substituted molasses for half the honey from the original recipe but feel free to play around with that proportion depending on how sweet you like things. Don’t be afraid of the prune baby food. I know it may seem weird at first but prune puree (aka. baby food!) is a great substitute for oil. That’s right, there’s no oil in this recipe and I dare anyone to notice!

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Even from this far away, you can see the chewy bulgar grains.

Figgy Whole Grain Gingerbread
Adapted from The Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma Cookbook: Simple Solutions for Eating Well

1/3 cup bulgar wheat
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey
1 egg
1/4 cup prune baby food
1/2 cup (or more) dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup crystalized ginger, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Stir bulgar, water, and figs together in a large bowl and let stand for 15 minutes.
Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
Add buttermilk, molasses, agave, egg, and crystalized ginger to the bulgar concoction.
Stir dry ingredients into wet.
Pour into lightly greased 8×4 inch loaf pan.
Bake for 35 minutes at 375 F.
Cool in the pan for a few minutes before serving, then turn out of pan and cool on wire rack.

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