What’s this? Gingerbread was an early baby food? That’s what I’ve read. I would cite my sources, but I’d rather be lazy now.
Just don’t tell my students.
But yes, gingerbread was given to German babies. The mothers would let it harden and then crush it into a powder and add the powder to milk or water.
How fantastic. Gingerbread does seem awfully wholesome to me—even medicinal. And what happy babies!
After I read about the gingerbread powder, I pinched off a hearty portion to accompany my morning coffee and my baby boy happily received any bits his papa had to offer.
And you can have some of this excellent stuff if you do one of two things:
1. Order it from Maddy Lu’s.
2. Follow the following recipe and bake your own.
The choice is yours. Make a good one.
This gingerbread comes from the fabulous Lynne Rossetto Kasper. She, along-with Sally Swift, includes this recipe in their book The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper.
Dark and Moist Gingerbread
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 generous teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 3/4 cup mild or dark molasses
3/4 cup very hot water (190F) 1/3 tight-packed cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1. Preheat the oven top 350 F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper.
3. Beat together the butter, molasses, hot water, and brown sugar. When the mixture is almost frothy, beat in the egg and gradually add the flour blend. Stir until blended.
4. Pour batter into pan and bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. For a moist cake, cool in the pan on a rack. For a drier cake, cool for 10 in the pan and then turn it out of the pan and cool on a rack.
Serve this with a puff of whipped cream and a dab of lemon curd.