THERE may be nothing worse but neither is there anything better than a dark brown taste in the mouth. If you want proof bite into a gingerbread fresh and hot from the oven, fragrant with spices and teeming with good honest flavor.
Here’s a topnotcher among coldweather desserts. Serve it with baked apples or stewed fruit, smother it with lemon or marshmallow sauce, or use it as a shortcake with fruity filling and cap. Or tuck a piece in the lunch box to round out the portable meal.
Then if you still have any doubts as to the popularity of a dusky flavor try gingerbread as an afterschool snack or set the loaf on your buffet table; you’ll find that gentlemen — and ladies — prefer this brunette.
Gingerbread — cupful of butter, Yi cupful of brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 cupful of molasses, 2 x/i cupfuls of flour, 2 teaspoonfuls of baking soda, 2 teaspoonfuls of ginger, y¿ teaspoonful of salt, 1 cupful of sour milk.
Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly, add the molasses and beat well. Add the eggs and beat again. Sift the flour, measure and sift again with the remaining dry ingredients. Then add alternately with the sour milk to the first mixture. Bake in a greased pan in a slow oven — 335 deg.—for 50 minutas. This recipe makes a loaf eight by eight inches by two inches, or two shallow layers eight by eight inches.
Mixing Pointers — Remember that any gingerbread is no better than the ingredients that go into it. Use the best. Be precise in measuring; accuracy is a pearl above price. Avoid overmixing after the flour is added; the idea is just to blend the
ingredients nicely. Too much stirring at this stage causes humps and tunnels. Use a slow oven; any molasses mixture scorches easily. Don’t go peeking in the oven any more than you can help.
Variations—Cheese Gingerbread —Add y¿ cupful of grated cheese at the final beating. Or spread with softened cream cheese. For a stylish effect pipe cream cheese crisscross over the dark brown surface.
Cranberry Gingerbread—Omit y¿ cupful of sour milk, then add y cupful of cranberry juice to the batter. Serve as a pudding with brown sugar sauce or fresh stewed cranberries.
Maple-Molasses Gingerbread — Substitute half the molasses called for with an equal quantity of maple syrup. Try with hot maple syrup accompaniment.
Corn-’lasses Gingerbread — Use only y¿ cupful of molasses and fill ’er up with corn syrup.
Chocolate Gingerbread—Cut the butter to y cupful and use only 2 cupfuls of flour. Add two squares of chocolate, melted, to the creamed butter-and-sugar mixture.
Tutti-frutti Gingerbread—Dredge y¿ cupful of raisins, chopped plump prunes, dates or nuts—or any combination of these—with part of the flour. Add to the batter and blend.
Apple Gingerbread—When the cake is about half done gently press into the surface small sections of peeled apple. Work quickly—no dawdling over the job!
Marshmallow Gingerbread—Split fresh gingerbread or bake in two layers. Put chopped marshmallows between and on top then return to the oven for a minute or two.
Individual Gingerbreads—Bake the barter in muffin tins for about 25 minutes.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.