I’ve always loved gingerbread and other “spicy” baked goods – they taste like comfort to me. My mom used to make gingerbread on special occasions when I was a little girl – so it was extra special! In my adult years, though, I gravitated toward cookies because I thought they would be easier and more festive. In 2003, I came across a Martha Stewart recipe for Chewy Chocolate- Gingerbread cookies – and they were delicious, spicy and decadent. This recipe always helped me cure my gingerbread fix. I've also found a recipe for gingerbread pancakes by King Arthur that is equally yummy and a quick way to make gingerbread.
A few years ago, after my husband’s aunt Mary Frank (who was like his grandmother) passed away, a few of her recipes were shared with his large family as a way to celebrate her the first Thanksgiving we were without her. When we saw her recipes, we were all touched - and felt she was with us! It gives me great pleasure to share a gingerbread recipe from her collection with you today, as it’s a tribute to this special steel magnolia. A matriarch of a family with deep roots in a small Texas town, Mary Frank was known for miles for her southern cooking and her giving spirit. My husband still believes that no one can make sweet tea like Mary Frank!
Taken from one of her many church cookbooks, this gingerbread recipe I’d like to share originally came from her good friend Erin Erle, whom I don’t know, but I’m certain she was a special lady if she was close friends with Mary Frank.
I’ve changed a few things to make the recipe a bit healthier, but these tweaks don't change the taste. My apologies on not featuring a photo – I suppose we eat it before I can get it on camera! (I did include a photo of a finished pan of gingerbread and a special ingredient I like to eat with the pan scrapings, however.)
Erin Erle’s Gingerbread
1 cup Grandma’s Molasses
1 cup sugar (or sucanat, organic unrefined sugar)
1 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar; let sit for 10 minutes)
2 cups whole wheat flour (white flour works fine, too)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
4 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup of chocolate chips (optional but delicious)
Mix all ingredients well - I like to mix the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately, then combine at the end. Pour into a greased pan…bake at 350 degrees for:
13x9 = 35 minutes
Bundt pan = 45 minutes
Muffins = 15 minute
After cooling, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
It’s lovely as a breakfast bread, a snack, a dessert; with tea, coffee, milk, peanut butter, whipped cream, and even Nutella. But it’s best when it’s right out of the oven.
When my daughter comes home to the smell of freshly baked gingerbread, her big, beautiful smile stretches from ear to ear. That smile, along with my little man’s chant, “Ginga-bed! Ginga-bed!” are my favorite comforting things about this recipe!