March 17, 2014

Gingerbread Recipe

It's Saint Patrick's Day today.... along with the corned beef, carrots & potatoes and oven roasted cabbage wedges, I'm making gingerbread! I decided to see what my "Favorite New England Recipes" cookbook (copyright 1972) had for choices....  there were two gingerbread recipes to choose from, I love the history story that goes with it, but the last line is the reason I picked this one to try!!
This recipe was passed down through six generations to Dorothy Hale Wires of Rockport, MA. She writes that during the War of 1812 "the little settlement of Sandy Bay, now Rockport, was in constant fear of attack from maurauding British privateers then prowling Cape Ann waters. In the early days of the War many families planned escape through the woods to the larger settlement in Gloucester, some five miles away, which provided better protection. My great aunt Lucy Hale Knutsford, known to all as 'Aunt Lute', used to tell me many stories which in turn had been told her by her mother, Betsy Tarr Hale, who having been born in 1800, thus was 12 years old at the time of the War. During the anxious days when fears of raids were uppermost in the minds of Sandy Bay residents, Betsy's mother used to keep ever in readiness clothing and food so that her family could quickly leave their home to follow woodland paths to the Gloucester settlement. Every morning she baked a fresh gingerbread for food along the way, should it be necessary to go. Aunt Lute always cherished this recipe and our family has enjoyed it for six generations. This is it just as given to me by Aunt Lute." ~Doroty Hale Wires~
Take 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup molasses, 1/2 cup melted shortening, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger. To this add alternately 1 cup flour to which has been added 1 teaspoon soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup boiling water. More flour should be added, if necessarty, to make a fairly stiff batter. Then lastly add 1/2 teaspoon vinegar. Bake in moderate oven until a straw comes out clean, or until it doesn't sizzle on holding the pan to the ear.  (325* for about 35 minutes)

Isn't that an awesome find!?! The best part is that I can hear my mother in law or Pete's aunt's voice giving me these baking instructions too!

GUESS WHAT???!!! The cake REALLY did sizzle when I took it out at 35 minutes!!

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