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in the kitchen with: yvette van boven’s luxurious gingerbread

by Kristina Gill

We’re getting a jump-start on the holidays with this week’s recipe. Dutch illustrator and food stylist Yvette van Boven shares a luxurious gingerbread, the fancy version of the traditional loaf which appears in her most recent book, Home Made Winter. Personally, gingerbread in all its international forms is one of my favorite winter treats. Yvette’s version seems perfect to present as a gift or to bring to an afternoon tea with friends or, let’s be honest, to make all for yourself! Unfortunately, where I live it’s still too hot to think about hot tea, but I’m saving this for when the temperature drops.   If you prefer something savory in the meantime, check out Yvette’s previous recipe for a modern twist on the traditional Dutch bitterballen.Kristina

About Yvette: Yvette van Boven is a freelance food stylist, recipe writer and co-owner of the Aan de Amstel café in Amsterdam. Yvette’s first award-winning cookbook, Home Made, was published in the Netherlands in 2010, and has since been followed by Home Made Winter and Home Made Summer (May 2013 in the US), all of which have been translated into French, German and English. Home Made Winter was launched this month in the USA. If you’d like to catch Yvette in person, she will be teaching how to make homemade soups at Haven’s Kitchen next Friday and will cook a three-course dinner and make cocktails at Sunday Suppers in Brooklyn on October 18th.

See Yvette’s recipe in illustrations and photos after the jump . . .

Please note that we have also transcribed the recipe into text, complete with photos, after the illustrations!

Luxurious Gingerbread with Dates, Nuts and White Chocolate

  • 3.5 cups (400g) self-rising flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 pinch of allspice
  • 1/2 cup (100g, packed) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (150g) runny honey
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (200ml) milk (or more if the batter is stiff)
  • 2/3 cup (100g) dates, coarsely chopped
  • 1 + 1/3 cup (200g) white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 handful + 2 tablespoons of any nut mix (seeds, nuts, dried cranberries and chocolate-covered raisins)


Note: Make the batter quickly and be careful not to overmix!

1. Preheat the oven to 300F (150C / Gas 2 mark).

2. Grease an 8 x 4 inch (1 liter) loaf pan with melted butter.

3. Mix flour, salt and dry spices. Add the brown sugar, honey and milk. If the batter is too stiff at this point, add a bit more milk. Stir in the dates, the handful of nuts and half of the white chocolate.

4. Pour into your baking pan and bake for one hour until golden. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

5. When the cake has cooled, melt the remaining white chocolate au bain marie (using a double boiler or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water). Pour the melted white chocolate over the loaf and sprinkle with the remaining nuts.

6. Store tightly packed in paper or foil to keep that sticky gooeyness that makes this gingerbread so lovely. It will keep for a couple days, if it lasts that long.

Illustrations by Yvette. Photography by Oof Verschuren, Yvette’s lovely husband, right hand and fellow cookbook maker.

Why Yvette Loves This Recipe

This is a recipe that I looove. Not only because it’s so delicious, but also because it’s made in the blink of an eye, and because I always have the ingredients for it lying around. It doesn’t contain eggs or butter. I guess that if you made it with soy milk instead of regular milk you could even call it vegan! White chocolate is also one of my favorites, so that had to go into this recipe, and so did the nuts and seeds. Dates too, of course. Nice sticky ones. This makes a perfect breakfast loaf. You should eat it while it’s still warm, with a thick layer of salted butter on top. Cold butter, straight from the fridge. Are you with me? Or have you run to the kitchen already to bake it?

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