Cooking Without the Cow

I have a dairy allergy. I digest it well enough but it gives me a headache, which is not fun. I do use a little butter, especially in baking, because margarine scares me. Cheese is such a prevalent ingredient in even vegetarian offerings that I have had to experiment with different dishes to come up with some staples that will work for my family. I hope you enjoy them, too!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Shuna's Famous Gingerbread

I love Elise Bauer's Simply Recipes web site. It's friendly, facile and fun. And apparently conducive to alliteration. Her helpful entry on gingerbread men included links for recipes for actual gingerbread cake, which I have never tasted and have been interested in since first reading of it in P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins.

Excitedly, I clicked the link to read about Shuna's Famous Gingerbread and found not only that recipe but stories and an old-fashioned recipe from the turn of the century. I have cut-and-pasted both Shuna's and Lynn D.'s grandmother's recipe below. Can't wait to try it - giving pomegranate molasses, lavender honey, chocolate fudge and gingerbread for Christmas this year. :)


18 ounces All Purpose Flour
6 ounces Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
3 Tablespoons + Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Ground Cardamon
1 teaspoon + Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon *optional: Ground Coriander*

8 ounces Unsalted Butter
3 1/2 ounces Blackstrap Molasses
6 ounces Simple Syrup **recipe in instructions** you may substitute Lyle's golden syrup or light corn syrup

3 each Large Egg Yolks
2 each Large Eggs
8 ounces soured soy milk (originally "buttermilk. you may substitute sour cream or use a mixture of them both to create the eight ounces")

Suggestions: Use the freshest, organic if possible, ground spices. Rainbow Grocery is a fantastic source for buying small amounts in bulk. Keep spices away from light and heat in your kitchen and try to use them up within 6 months of purchase date.

**To make simple syrup place equal parts sugar and cold water in saucepan and bring to a boil until mixture is clear. For a thicker syrup boil for at least 10 minutes or increase the amount of sugar. For this recipe 1/2 cup sugar to 1/2 cup water will be sufficient.**

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Butter desired baking vessels. {Sometimes I coat with raw or white sugar inside as you would flour for a cake.}
3. Sift all dry ingredients except salt and pepper into a large bowl
4. Whisk in salt and pepper until mixture is uniform and create a "well" in center
5. In a medium non-reactive saucepan bring butter, molasses and simple syrup to a boil slowly {this mixture is feisty and will boil over if the heat is on too high or your saucepan is crowding it}
6. In another bowl whisk together egg yolks, eggs and dairy
7. When mixture on stove comes to a boil, shut off heat and let rest for a moment
8. Pour this hot mixture all at once into the center of your bowl of dry ingredients
9. Using a whisk, mix dry ingredients into liquid, from center out, carefully
10. When batter begins to seize, pour in second bowl of wet ingredients
11. Whisk batter until smooth and uniform. Batter is loose
12. Pour batter a little over halfway into buttered baking tins
13. I set my first timer for about 15 minutes, {unless you are making muffin-size or smaller}, so that I can turn the pan around for a more even bake
14. Gingerbread is done when sides pull away from the pan, middle bounces back to the touch and/or a cake-tester inserted in the center comes out clean
{From this recipe I made one cake pan, one loaf, and it took about 35 minutes}
15. Cool at least until warm before slicing.

And now for the fantastic final detail/hint. You may turn this recipe into a "mix"! Assemble one recipe of just the dry ingredients. Weigh mixture and jot it down. You can keep mix in the cupboard for a rainy day and bake any fraction of it which suits you. This gingerbread is spicy and warming. A perfect, not-too-sweet confection for the coldest month of the year. Happy 2006!

posted by shuna fish lydon

Lynn D. said...

What a fabulous post. I must share with you my grandmother's recipe for gingerbread exactly as she wrote it down for me almost 40 years ago when I went to college. Of course I filled in the gaps in her recipe because I had watched her make it and made in under her watch many times.

"Break 1 egg in cup, fill cup with molasses, add 1 tsp ginger and 1 tsp cinnamon. Put 1/2 cup butter in a cup and fill cup with hot water and 1 level tsp soda. Put two mixtures together and add 1 and 1-half cups sifted flour. Bake in pan or makes 1 dozen regular sized muffins."

This recipe is actually delicious and so easy (necessary for a young widow (the 1918 influenza) who mowed her own lawn and washed her clothes in a wringer washer and hung them out to dry).

UPDATE 12/27/06: My apartment has smelled soooo wonderful for the past week! First the lavender honey - even my crochet project was perfumed by the scent coming from the kitchen. And my herbal teas have never tasted so good. Then the chocolate fudge, which is always nice. Finally, the gingerbread. Even The Boy, ever stingy with the compliments, said, "It actually smells pretty good in here." Everyone went back for seconds on it after dinner. Fantastic recipe - thank you, Shuna!


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