Holiday Gingerbread


Winter vacation isn’t complete without a family Gingerbread house construction. We love opening up the boxes, laying out all the candy pieces in an assembly line, and determining our creative design for the houses’ façade.  We laugh while we sneak eat at least 1/3 of the candy pieces. We have a grand old time watching our houses transform from 2D pieces to festive 3D creations; the perfect window display against winter’s snowy backdrop.

Gingerbread house made last year

Gingerbread house made this year

With all our focus on Gingerbread houses, I realized I never once bothered to try to make Gingerbread!

As luck would have it, my Baking Skills class at the The Institute for Culinary Educaiton featured Gingerbread.  I felt as though the chef had read my mind.  I couldn’t believe Gingerbread has such a rich history, dating all the way back to when the Romans used it to celebrate fertility rites and weddings.  The head chef also indicated that Gingerbread is related to many other food preparations such as the Italian Panforte, the French pain d’epices and the English fruitcake!

I soon realized there is nothing difficult to this recipe.  The hardest part for me was learning how to properly fold and rip the square piece of parchment paper to perfectly fit the bottom of our round baking pan.

I was also excited as I had never baked with Molasses. I’m sure there’s a jar of it in most kitchens, quietly gathering dust at the back of a cupboard, right?  I mean typically, isn’t molasses only used once or twice a year, when making gingerbread or baked beans?

As I watched the molasses  slowly creep out of the bottle into into my measuring cup, many thoughts came to mind.  Of course I first thought of its constipating or sometimes laxative effects.  Charles Dickens makes mention molasses in Nicholas Nickleby, where the starving students of Mr. Wackford Squeers’ school are frequently dosed with it to cut down on their porridge consumption.  And, remember the The Boston Molasses Disaster, also known as the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy, that occurred on January 15, 1919? A large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets killing 21 and injuring 150.

And, don’t forget molasses also had a somewhat unsavory history during Prohibition in the US as it is the primary base for the manufacture of rum. Molasses importation became synonymous with the bootlegging industry and with organized crime.

But, I digress…

We spent a decent amount of time perfecting the art of combining the molasses with the milk and butter and dry in ingredients.  I now know the trick.  Your mixer should be on LOW SPEED and the proper way to mix is: ½ of the dry ingredients first, then add all the liquid, then add the other ½ of the dry ingredients.  And, I learned how to properly FOLD the mixture together versus simply mixing the mixture together—apparently there’s a big difference. The head chef stood over me and watched me stumble my way through it in front of the class.

Even before putting the cake in the oven, the pungent aromas were wafting from the batter.  35 minutes later and we had a beautifully brown, round Gingerbread before us.  And, don’t be shy, the recipe calls for modest amounts of cinnamon and ginger.  I say add more.  When sampling our bread, we agreed it needed more of a kick.  I would even throw in some All Spice too. Enjoy.

Finished Gingerbread baked to perfection


I will be linking to these sites: This Chick Can Cook; Someday Crafts; Trendy Treehouse; Fireflies and Jellybeans; Sew Much Ado; Sugar and Dots; Pinch of This & the Other; Sweet Peas and Bumble Bees; Ginger Snaps; Today’s Creative Blog


  1. I’m hosting a PARTY, too! I’d love for you to link this and any other fun projects of yours, too!!!

    Aimee from
    Overflowing with Creativity

  2. I’ll bet your house smelled amazing after this baking marathon. The cake looks delicious and you did a great job on the gingerbread house. Thanks for sharing on Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

  3. Love the gingerbread house! My mother-in-law took my kids to a gingerbread house making activity…poor daughter’s house didn’t have enough “cement” so had to be put back together! Love gingerbread and your’s looks delicious. Loved learning about the history of gingerbread too! The best ever gingerbread I had was a cross between a cake and a hard cookie…it was in the Lake District in England, and I’ve been searching for a similar recipe ever since…Guess I need to go back to England 🙂

  4. Wow! Me too, this is my first year baking with Molasses! I am just lovin gingbread this year, your cake looks so awesome, so does the Gingerbread house from you 9 year old! Thanks for sharing at Mrs Foxs Sweet Party and have a Merry Christmas 🙂

  5. Thanks for the gingerbread recipe…looks yummy…

  6. I think the gingerbread house looks very cute and beautiful
    I really like it – very well done!

  7. wow you have one great thing after the next!

    thanks for saying hi and for connecting the dots with our mutual Jane Deere mentions. All your goodies look scrumptious!

    Happy Baking…& Happy Holidays 🙂

  8. Great looking gingerbread! I’ve made cookies before, but never a traditional gingerbread. I think I might need to try it!

  9. Blog hopping from This Chick Cooks…love gingerbread! I can’t wait to try this!

  10. It looks delicious! We’ve had some gingerbread fun out our house too this week 🙂

  11. I love gingerbread! And loved your post! Thanks for linking up for Friday Favorites. I’m featuring you this week. Come by and grab my featured button if you’d like one!

  12. Hi! Love the gingerbread history lesson. Thanks! We were supposed to put a little ginger house together this Christmas, but I think it’s going to be a new year house instead. Ours is not a special from scratch one either, but a bought one you stick together with royal icing and decorate… can’t wait. I’m sure it will be fun nonetheless. Visiting from WILW… 🙂

  13. Your houses are so nice! We made houses in college, it was an all day thing and I hated it! I love to bake but you give me a kit any day LOL. Although my sister got me the gingerbread cookie cutters this year, so I will have to try again.

  14. This looks like a great gingerbread recipe. I will be giving this one a try for the next holiday season. Come visit today. We have a terrific healthy dessert recipe.

  15. I always look forward to our yearly Gingerbread house creations. We’ve always made ours with graham crackers just because it’s easier, but this gingerbread recipie doesn’t look to bad, so maybe I’ll give it a go next year. That would certainly add a whole new dimension to our creations.

    Thanks for sharing at Shindig Saturday!

  16. I can’t wait to try this! I’ve only had this once many years ago and was just thinking about it the other day! Yay! thanks for the recipe!

  17. I, too, love gingerbread with fond memories of my Mom making it and serving it with warm lemon sauce. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I enjoyed the history and story with it too.

  18. I love the flavor of Molasses and spices. I made my first gingerbread in muffin form this year, and the muffins were delicious. This recipe looks equally tasty. I loved reading about the history of gingerbread AND Molasses. I had never heard of the Molasses disaster!! Yikes!

  19. waou! i Love the ginger house!! and munmmmmmims!! oh i tried to make biscuits but i almost broke a tooth trying eating it!and you should have seen my hands full of raw dough like i had heavy gloves on!ah im a fighter i will get to make a good biscuit! hope mr Otto feeLs better! dawmed flue vaccin!Lovegini

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.


  1. […] a historical life beyond the oven and my kitchen. There’s always a learning curve for me. Baking Gingerbread was fun but, learning its significance in history was even more […]

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