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Tuesday, December 13, 2005


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St. Nicholas E-Cards

Ginger is a spice grown in south Asia. It was a popular spice used in cooking around the Mediterranean and Europe in ancient times but, following the fall of the Roman Empire, it disappeared from Europe. Ginger was re-introduced into Europe in the Middle Ages either by the Crusaders returning from fighting in the the Holy Land and/or by Marco Polo following his trips to China and east Asia.

It again became a popular spice throughout Europe although it was usually used in the making of candies and, later cookies both of which were referred to as gingerbread. In fact it became so closely associated with cookies and candies made with spices that in Medieval times cookies and candies were often referred to as gingerbread even if they contained no ginger. Gingerbread man cookies became so popular that folk tales were told about the Gingerbread Man.

For some excellent Medieval English gingerbread recipes visit Gode Cookery.Com on the web.

During the colonial period, settlers from all over Europe brought their gingerbread recipes with them so that today there are literally thousands of variations of gingerbread and gingerbread cookie recipes available. Despite the "bread" in the name, gingerbread is really a cake to be served as a sweet desert rather than as bread during a meal. Even most of the recipes call for it to be baked in a flat cake pan rather than loaf pans used for bread. Either way, gingerbread makes an excellent addition to holiday meals and snacks.

Below is our Shamrocks recipe for gingerbread.


* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup brown sugar (can substitute regular white sugar)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
* 1/2 cup cooking oil (can substitute melted butter)
* 1 cup molasses
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup sour milk (add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to milk and let stand until milk coagulates)
* 1/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift or mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Stir in melted butter, molasses, brown sugar, egg, and milk. Beat in the hot water.

Pour batter into a generously greased and floured 8-inch square pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger.
Serve gingerbread with whipped cream (Cool-Whip ® or similar commercial toppings are an excellent substitute for do-it-yourself whipped cream) or lemon sauce.

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