Ginger Scone at Nibs
This low-key café in Outer Richmond feels like being in a friend’s living room, right down to the serve-yourself coffee and assortment of homey pastries. The ginger scone ($3.00) is a little lumpy and almost comically large, but the crumb remains soft and tender. The dough is shot through with chunks of candied ginger, meaning there are no sad, gingerless bites. The top of the scone has a crackly sugar crust that’s perfect for dunking in a strong cup of coffee.
Nibs: 3717 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94121 (map) 415-379-6468
Gingerbread Cupcake at Miette
Miette's gingerbread cupcake ($3.25) is remarkably complex in flavor. It’s made with molasses, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and dark stout beer. "Tastes like Christmas!" one taster declared, and I fully understand the sentiment. Topped with a tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting, this is, indeed, a cupcake that is holiday-worthy, and certainly one worth celebrating.
Ginger Snap Sammy at Pinkie's Bakery
I love any excuse to eat two cookies (and frosting) and consider it one dessert. This Ginger Snap Sammy ($3.50) starts with two big gingersnap cookies. The texture of the cookies is just how I like them—generally chewy with crisp edges and just a tad underbaked in the center. The cookies are sandwiched around an ample but not overwhelming layer of sweet cream cheese frosting. In a world of bloated Whoopie Pies, Pinkie’s ratio between cookie and frosting is refreshingly restrained.
Ginger Hearts at Cocoabella
I’m not usually one to treat myself to a box of chocolates, but these Ginger Hearts ($2) had me reconsider. With one bite, the thin white chocolate shell gives way to a creamy chocolate-ginger ganache. The ganache is intensely flavored and delicious; it combines dark, almost bitter chocolate and fresh, spicy ginger. To finish off these decadent little treats, there is a spot of real gold leaf on the shell.
Gingersnap at Black Jet Baking Company
Big cookies are happy things, and this one is about the size of your face. While this gingersnap ($2) is less snap and more chew, it’s got plenty of the requisite spices. In addition to notes of ginger and cinnamon, there is a deep molasses flavor. But back to the size: more cookie means there is more of that wonderful crinkled, sanded sugar top.
The Professor's Favorite at That Takes The Cake
I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of Gilligan's Island, but that didn't stop me from enjoying this cupcake. The bottom of The Professor's Favorite ($2.95) is similar to a traditional gingerbread loaf: the crumb is dense and moist and there are hints of cinnamon and allspice. But what really makes this cupcake awesome is its lemon frosting. The tart, citrusy flavor is a welcome break from the tasty yet over-played pairing of gingerbread and cream cheese. There is also just enough frosting to let the cake shine.