Every year I share this recipe from my grandmother Adele, and I think it would amaze her to know that there are people baking and enjoying her gingerbread all over the world. The recipe dates back to the 1910s, and when I was growing up, it wasn’t Christmas until she made it. This year, thanks to Andrew Newiss, who kindly translated the recipe, I’m including conversions and substitutions for those of you in the UK and Europe. This heavenly stuff will fill your home with the smell of Christmas and it’s every bit as good as it smells. Barry likes it with whipped cream; I’m a purist and prefer it all by its lovely self. Either way, give it a try. It might become your tradition too.

Adele’s Hot Water Gingerbread (UK & European conversions in parentheses)
1 cup butter (225g salted butter)
1 cup sugar (165g dark soft brown sugar)
1 cup blackstrap molasses (342g or 236ml Lyle’s Black Treacle)
1 tsp. baking soda (1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda)
1 1/2 cups boiling water (355ml boiling water)
2 large eggs
3 cups flour (420g plain white flour)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
Beat all ingredients together with electric beater. Bake at 350° (180°C) in two square pans (20cm x 20cm x 5 cm) or one oblong pan (33 x 23 x 5 cm) for 45 minutes or until knife comes clean.

If you’d like some Christmas music to bake by, my album Northern Lights (out of print on CD) is available for downloading on iTunes and Bandcamp, and you can stream it at Apple Music and Spotify.


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  1. I made this last night for a work Christmas ‘bring & share’ party. Everyone loved it! And it was so easy to make. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful family ‘secret’ and it’s so lovely that your Grandma’s culinary legacy lives on across the world!

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