Gingerbread

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.

7 Comments

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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!

  2. Not being a culinary expert I had a go last night and it came out absolutely spot on. My wife gave it the thumbs up and so did my work colleagues.Definitely on my yearly to do list now. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I might try this amazing recipe too Gretchen, you are so amazing! A fabulous songwriter, instrumentalist, singer, and chef all in one, plus I’m sure you have many other awesome qualities as well. I hope you will tour Australia someday, I would love to see you perform live, especially “Woman On The Wheel” (my favourite GP song).

    Cheers, Michael

  4. This RECIPE is by FAR and AWAY, THE BEST Gingerbread Cake I have EVER tasted!
    I am a baker, in my 7th decade of living, and have always LOVED gingerbread!
    It was my favorite X-mas gift this year, given me by a very English neighbor, and I will make it regularly!
    Also simultaneously gifted an introduction to Gretchens music…
    Peace, Health, Joy, and Wakefullness, to all-.
    From Santa Fe New Mexico,
    Sherri

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