During our vacation, I learned a lot of things about how people lived in the late 1700s and 1800s in America, and this got me to thinking about how and what they ate. And then I got a craving for gingerbread. So when we got back home, I searched for an old recipe. I was hoping to find a 1800s pioneer recipe, and I did, but the problem with recipes that old is that they give really vague directions, like “bake in a hot oven”. How many degrees is a hot oven? Or, “add enough flour to make dough stiff”. Well, that’s kinda open to interpretation. People did a lot more cooking from scratch back then, they cooked in wood stoves (no thermostat to set), and a lot of pioneer women didn’t even write their recipes down, they just cooked meals from memory. So in my search for a newer old gingerbread recipe, I came across this one. It’s from the 1930s, and I had to make a few modifications(it didn’t give a pan size, tell how to make sour milk, and the oven temp and cooking time were slightly off). So I did some research, figured it all out, and tested the recipe. And it made perfect old fashioned gingerbready goodness.
(WARNING: As it bakes, it will fill your house with the most heavenly, warm, gingery smell. It’s a feast for the nose, and you’ll never want to leave your home again.)
This week, I’ll be sharing more old fashioned recipes with you, like corn fritters and johnny cakes. But first up, here’s the gingerbread:
½ cup butter ( 1 stick)
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
½ cup sour milk (add ½ tbsp lemon juice to milk and let sit for 15 minutes)
½ cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup raisins*
1/4 cup chopped pecans*
*Note: You can omit the raisins or nuts if you like.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Soften butter in the microwave (not liquid, just really soft). Put butter in medium mixing bowl. Add sugar, and mix well. Then stir in eggs, milk, and molasses.
Add baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger, and mix well. Stir in flour.
Mix in the raisins and pecans.
Pour mixture into greased and floured 8 X 8 inch pan.
Smooth into corners and make sure it is level.
Bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees for about 50 – 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Serve warm or cool. And have a glass of milk with it. Go ahead and dunk it in the milk.
Or add a dollop of whipped cream, or maybe a scoop of ice cream. Enjoy!