Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gingerbread

Copyright 2011 Christine's Pantry. All rights reserved.

   
Gingerbread has been baked in Europe since the eleventh century. In some places, it was a soft, delicately spiced cake, in others, a crisp, flat cookie, and in others, warm, thick, dark squares of "bread," sometimes served with a pitcher of lemon sauce or whipped cream. It was sometimes light, sometimes dark, sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy, but it was almost always cut into shapes such as men, women, stars or animals, and colorfully decorated or stamped with a mold and dusted with white sugar.

In Medieval England gingerbread meant simply "preserved ginger" and was an adaptation of the Old French gingebras, derived from the Latin name of the spice, Zingebar. It was only in the fifteenth century that the term came to be applied to a kind of cake made with treacle, an uncrystalized syrup drained from raw sugar during the refining process, and flavored with ginger. Ginger was also discovered to have a preservative effect when added to pastries and bread, and this probably led to the development of recipes for ginger cakes, cookies, and flavored breads.

During the nineteenth century, gingerbread was modernized. When the Grimm brothers collected volumes of German fairy tales they found one about Hansel and Gretel, two children who, abandoned in the woods by penniless parents, discovered a house made of bread, cake and candies.

At Christmas, gingerbread makes its most impressive appearance. The German practice of making lebkuchen houses never caught on in Britain in the same way as it did in North America, and it is here still that the most extraordinary creations are found.

Gingerbread making in North America has its origins in the traditions of the many settlers from all parts of Northern Europe who brought with them family recipes and customs. By the nineteenth century, America had been baking gingerbread for decades.

American recipes usually called for fewer spices than their European counterparts, but often make use of ingredients that were only available regionally. Maple syrup gingerbreads were made in New England, and in the South sorghum molasses was used. Regional variations began occurring as more people arrived from Europe. In Pennsylvania, the influence of German cooking was great and many traditional Germany gingerbreads reappeared in this area, especially at Christmas time.

Nowhere in the world is there a greater collection of gingerbread recipes than in America —there are so many variations in taste, form and presentation. With the vast choice of ingredients, baking aids and decorative items the imaginative cook can create the most spectacular gingerbread houses and centerpieces ever. 
Info by ultimategingerbread.com/gingerbreadhistory

Gingerbread
Copyright 2011 Christine's Pantry. All rights reserved.

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup molasses

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the pan with parchment paper. Mix together flour, ginger, salt and baking powder into bowl. In another bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until soft. Beat in eggs. Then add molasses, mix. Add dry ingredients, stir. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan. Serve with a dollop of cool whip or vanilla ice cream, if desired. Enjoy!




22 comments:

  1. I've never baked my own gingerbread. This looks like a lovely recipe that will work gluten-free and egg-free beautifully!

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  2. I can't believe I've never made gingerbread! My kiddos all love gingersnaps, so I know they'd enjoy this! It's the hubby that's hard to please unless it's chocolate ;)

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  3. Lizzy, my hubby will eat any dessert I give him. He could have dessert before and after dinner. He is big on sweets.

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  4. I love gingerbread...I fear this has sparked the cravings once again. :)

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  5. I just love gingerbread! The recipe I have calls for golden syrup and molasses ...both of which I cannot get here in Sicily. Can you suggest an alternative? Would honey do. I also cannot get the nice moist dark brown sugar (like Lyles) but I do get light brown sugar, a kind of demerara but brown. A British friend of mine introduced me to gingerbread a long time ago and it's my favorite dessert. Your looks fabulous, makes me want to eat it.

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  6. Ciccia, you could use black treacle... can you get black treacle? Black treacle is pretty much the same as molasses.

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  7. One of my favorite smells is this baking nothing like it!

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  8. Growing up in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood while being raised by old school Hispanics I remember seeing kids bring gingerbread and pumpernickel to school, and being so closed minded I remember thinking, gross bread shouldn't be that color! But once I tried it I was hooked! Can't wait to try this recipe, looks delish and will bring back great memories, thanks for sharing! =]

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  9. I have never tried making gingerbread at home... I think I would make many people in my family very happy if I do! So glad I found your blog! Will be back for more! Thanks for stopping by my blog & commenting... :)

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  10. Hi Harried Cook, thanks for stopping by.

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  11. Hi Christine. Your gingerbread sounds fabulous.
    :-) Mandy

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  12. It looks so easy and delicious! Shall try your recipe some time.....

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  13. HHHMMMmmm... I'd go for the pitcher of lemon sauce AND the whipped cream!! Great recipe - and love the historical detail.

    Have a great weekend!!

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  14. Looks yummy!

    ~Sarah@TheJoyOfCleanEating.com

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  15. The gingerbread looks delicious and moist..thanks for stopping by at my blog..glad to be following you..

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  16. Hi Christine,
    You know I love ginger tea and ginger ale..so I think I would also love ginger bread.Havent make this one before and now seeing your ginger bread.. its a must to try this one.Thanks for coming over to my blog.I am your newest follower.

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  17. Thanks for the comment. I like this, very flavorful. Im not big on gingerbread, but this looks great.

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  18. Thanks for all the nice comments. Love it.

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  19. The closest I've come to gingerbread is in a cookie. Your bread looks incredibly moist. Love to see this recipe outside of the holiday season.

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  20. this looks flavourful delicious cake

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