Whether it’s served as spicy cake topped with whipped cream, a sweet and snappy cookie, a plump muffin or even a slice of bread, gingerbread may just be the perfect – classic -- holiday dessert.

Although gingerbread dates to medieval times, the word “gingerbread” has evolved over the centuries and across cultures. According to Smithsonian.com, Americans have been baking gingerbread for more than 200 years. Even George Washington’s mother had a favorite recipe!

Generally speaking, gingerbread is used to refer to the cookie in such shapes as the gingerbread man, or a dark, moist cake flavored with molasses, ginger and other spices.

These recipes will fill your home with the fragrant aroma of this warm, distinctive and seasonal spice. Add one — or all — of these recipes to your holiday baking repertoire.

Gingerbread Cake

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup light molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Heat oven to 325 F.

Combine all ingredients except whipped cream in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.

Pour batter into greased 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. Bake 25-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cut into squares. Serve warm with sweetened whipped cream.

Source: Land o’Lakes

Snappy Gingersnaps

  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugars together in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg is added. Add molasses and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, mix until dough is thoroughly combined. Chill cookie dough for 1 hour. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 F. Using a No. 20 disher, scoop dough onto cookie sheets leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute. Slide parchment paper and cookies onto a wire rack to cool. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Source: Waterloo Courier’s Great Christmas Cookie Contest 1st place winner, 2009.

Gingerbread Muffins

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter, molasses and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Add egg and applesauce; mix well. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating on low speed after each addition.

Spoon batter into 15 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 3/4 full. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean. Serve warm. Makes 15 muffins.

Source: McCormick

Fresh Ginger Gingerbread

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoonground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mild molasses
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon ginger puree or grated fresh gingerroot, *
  • 1 large egg
  • Powdered sugar, if desired

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 2 mini (5 3/4x3-inch) loaf pans.

Combine flour, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt in bowl.

Combine molasses, milk, 1/3 cup sugar, butter, ginger and egg in bowl; beat until well mixed. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until well mixed.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 28-33 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar before slicing, if desired.


1. The gingerbread can be baked in 1 (9x5-inch) loaf pan. Bake at 350 F. 30-35 minutes. For 4 miniature (4 1/2x2 1/2x1 1/2-inch) loaf pans, bake at 350 F. 25-30 minutes.

2. Grate peeled, fresh gingerroot on the fine side of a box grater or on a Microplane grater, leaving behind most of the fibers.


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