It has been cold and really nasty out. Garry went out and unasked, shoveled the walk again. This was very brave considering the near zero temperature.

I decided to warm him up with gingerbread. I thought I had everything, but I turned out to be 1/4 cup short of molasses and I decided to use my mixer instead of beating it by hand with a wooden spoon. I think it’s less complicated and less messy using a spoon, but this certainly produced a much smoother batter. Which took an extra 10 minutes to bake.

Was it the beating that did it? Extra air in the batter? Maybe the eggs were too big? 


This a very fine, old-fashioned recipe. I bake it in a loaf pan in a counter-top electric oven and it takes between 40 and 50 minutes at 370 to 375 degrees.  You can use a regular baking pan and a standard full-size oven, but you will probably need to change the oven temperature to whatever works in your oven. Hopefully, you know your oven and whether it should be turned up or down.

This is not a difficult recipe. It pretty much always comes out well, even if you make mistakes. It can take as long as 50 minutes or as few as 42 and sometimes. I’m not sure what makes the difference.

Baking is like that. When I baked bread, I always had to check and make sure it was done, even when I baked the loaf in the same oven using an identical recipe to the previous time. Ovens don’t always seem to run exactly the same from use to use — or maybe there are tiny differences in the way you prepare something that changes something ineffable in the batter.

I should have taken the pictures before I lopped off two big pieces, but it was hot and it smelled SO good …

I think the batch I made today took 50 minutes (a little more?), about 8 minutes more than last time and for the final 10 minutes, I had to turn the temperature up higher.

Identical never really is, you know. Ovens running at the same temperature may not really be exactly the same each time … which is why owning an oven thermometer is a good idea. I had one, but it died and I haven’t gotten around to replacing it. In any case, I don’t think it would work in the mini-oven.

Also, flour varies from use to use, even when it all came in the same bag. Eggs are different sizes. Mixing versus beating changes things. This use, the molasses seemed thinner, though it came in the same bottle as the last batch. Room temperature? Take your best guess.

I check for doneness by pressing lightly on the top. If it springs immediately back, it’s done. If not, it goes back in the oven and damn the recipe. Also, look to see if the edges have pulled away from the pan — another sign of whatever it is being fully baked. I don’t use toothpicks to check for doneness because sometimes, poking deflates it. I know that’s what cookbooks recommend, but it doesn’t work for me.

2-1/2 cups flour (sift or not, I don’t sift.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup melted butter or other shortening (I use corn oil)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup very hot water (not boiling) from the tap.

Note: I ran short of molasses and used 1/4 cup of Vermont maple syrup to make up the difference. The result is delicious. Maybe that’s why it took longer to bake?

I put everything in together then mix or beat it. It honestly doesn’t seem to make much difference how you do it, but beaten using a mixer produces a smoother batter. And seems to take a longer to bake.

Pour it in either a greased loaf pan or a Teflon loaf pan. I’m a dedicated Teflon user and I’m not sure if a greased pan would change baking time … but I do know you need to use a slightly hotter oven if you’re using a glass dish.

Preheat the oven before you bake. That does make a difference. A big difference.

Serve it hot or cold, it’s good any way you eat it.  Anything left over will go great with coffee in the morning.  Traditionally, it’s served with honey butter, but it’s delicious alone. The smell of it as it bakes gets every nose in the house twitching. Especially the dogs.

I should mention this is not the kind of gingerbread out of which you build houses, though I suppose you could fiddle with the recipe and see how it goes.

This gingerbread is for eating.


        1. I originally made gingersnaps — the very first time — because I had a dog who got carsick and I was told that gingersnaps might help. I didn’t like all the chemicals in commercial cookies, so I made my own. Gingerbread followed promptly. And, as it turned out, they will all eat gingersnaps and it does help keep them from getting queasy in the car. It helps ME too 🙂


          1. I lived on ginger biscuits with morning sickness long ago…and I love proper gingerbread. But Ani isn’t keen…though she’ll eat the biscuits if they are first dunked in coffee 😉


      1. We had one of those last year. It kept tripping the circuit in our kitchen because whoever rewired the kitchen didn’t know what they were doing. Sooo, we called an electrician who advised us not to do anything because we’re rebuilding in a couple of years anyway. Just unplug the coffee pot if we want to use the microwave, and visa versa, but don’t use anything that pulls too much on the circuit. Yeah. New house will have better wiring, that’s fersure.


        1. We have similar issues. No hair-drying while microwave is on. No AC in LR while microwave in on. And worse, the house isn’t sensibly wired because stuff is wired into that circuit that have no business there. So we can use the electric oven and the microwave as long as we don’t use a hair dryer OR the LR A/C at the same time. The hair dryer blew out EVERYTHING.


  1. It looks really good and a nice straightforward recipe. I’m not sure if I can get molasses here, Yours looks like it is in liquid form. We have treacle which I believe is similar but I think it is thicker, more like golden syrup or would maple syrup work as it’s a similar consistency. I’m trying to work out whether it is baking powder or Bicarbonate of Soda I should substitute for baking soda. I always find that confusing and don’t get me started on flour. It’s amazing that our two countries both English speaking have so many different terms for common items.


    1. I’m pretty sure treacle is very similar in texture. Molasses is very sticky/gooey and thick. I was wondering if I used a different syrup — like maple, maybe or golden — if I’d get a different flavored cake. I’m tempted to try!

      I looked it up. Treacle IS molasses, British style.

      “Treacle — is basically the British equivalent of molasses. It comes in several grades, ranging from light “golden syrup”, to dark or “black” treacle. The word “treacle” is defined as any syrup made in the refining of cane sugar. This includes molasses, though some will debate whether the two are the same or not.”


      1. I read up about it too and I did think that treacle and molasses were more or less the same . Apparently there is a further refined version referred to as “Black Strap Molasses” which you can buy in health stores but I think I’ll go with treacle or maybe even try the golden syrup version as I always have that in the house. I use it for Anzac biscuits.


  2. My nose was twitching and I wasn’t anywhere near your kitchen! Could you roll out this dough and make men out of it? I made some gingerbread men last year, but used a premixed cookie dough. They tasted okay, but not like the gingerbread I remember making by hand a few decades back. This looks delicious and I may have to make it for my own Christmas morning breakfast! Thanks Marilyn! Joyeux Noel to you and yours…


    1. The answer to that is NO. This is a batter, not a dough. I do have a really good ginger snap recipe though, if you’d like that, though I’m not sure even it is sturdy enough. Most “building materials” are not really edible. They have to be pretty rigid to hold up a roof — even a little roof.


      1. Actually, I’ve made quite a few edible houses, but you have to find an older recipe for them. The ones you find nowadays *are* pretty much inedible because they’re made to be indestructible, but back in the day, the gingerbread houses were meant to be put up in a day and eaten the same day — and made to be smaller, not the monstrosities you see today — so the dough was a bit softer and much more palatable.


        1. I’m sure there ARE recipes. Most of the construction now, they might as well use styrofoam. I think if you made this batch thicker, maybe NOT using any water? And baked it longer, it might work. It would be very chewy, but it also might be strong enough to do the job. Worth a try. OH, and baked it in a big, flat pan rather than a loaf …


  3. Definitely worth a go… i might have to acquire a few of those ingredients first – i don’t normally do a lot of baking – but i will give it a shot! 🙂


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