Not My Mom's Gingerbread Recipe

Gingerbread, in search of Mom's recipe with a depth of spice and flavor

Winter makes me hungry for comfort food.

Everywhere I look there are TV commercials, blog posts, and store displays that showcase holiday foods. The power of suggestion is real, folks.

And while it wasn't the subject of a commercial, what I wanted was a piece of my mom's gingerbread.

How to make the most delicious gingerbread from scratch

I tried to be strong but it was a losing battle. Since gingerbread isn't one of hubby's favorites, if I made some, I would have to eat most of it by myself. I really don't need all those calories.

But after wanting gingerbread for what felt like weeks, I finally gave in.

I went hunting for my mother's gingerbread recipe, because the definition of comfort food is the food you remember from your childhood, right?

I thumbed through her cookbooks on my bookshelves, finding one book that had "Gingerbread" circled in the index. I thought that must be The One, but it had sour cream in it and I don't remember that she put sour cream in her gingerbread.

When I exhausted Mom's cookbooks, I looked through my grandma's and my aunt's cookbooks.

My goodness, I had no idea there were so many ways to make gingerbread. Some required two eggs, some just one egg, I even found a recipe that did not use an egg at all.

And while they all used 1/2 cup of some kind of shortening (butter, shortening, and even bacon grease), the amounts of water and molasses and flour all varied widely. Some used baking soda and others used baking powder.

I finally settled on a recipe from very old cookbook even though it didn't contain all the spices that I was sure were in Mom's gingerbread.

But I wanted more depth of flavor than is given by ginger alone so, as I often do, I combined two recipes into one.

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The directions

If you'd like to give this warm and spicy gingerbread recipe a try too, you'll need the following to make a pan full of gingerbread that will soothe all your comfort-food cravings.

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup light or dark molasses
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9"x9"x2" baking pan.

Beat the wet ingredients (molasses, water and shortening) in a large mixer bowl on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, for 30 seconds.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in another bowl, then add to the wet ingredients. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally for about 3 minutes. Pour into the greased and floured pan.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

My mother always made gingerbread in a loaf pan, like banana bread and pumpkin bread are done, but as soon as I poured this into the loaf pan I knew it was too full, so I used the square baking  pan that all of those recipes had recommended.

Gingerbread spices



Gingerbread, holiday comfort food

How was it? Excellent! I'll make it again, for sure!

And yet, it wasn't quite my mother's gingerbread.

I could continue looking for a recipe more like Mom's, which would mean I might have to make a lot of gingerbread!

Or maybe, after making this warm-and-spicy recipe, I've decided I like it better.

Maybe someday my own children will want their mom's gingerbread recipe.

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Gingerbread, the perfect holiday comfort food

Related Posts:
My Mother's World-Famous Pumpkin Bread
How to Prepare for Winter Storms

Make this oh-so-delicious gingerbread recipe for a warm and spicy holiday snack.

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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  1. I love gingerbread. It's so old-fashioned and comforting. I want to try this recipe! It looks delicious!

    1. Holiday comfort food, right, Leslie?

  2. This makes me so happy. :-) I was craving gingerbread yesterday, but REAL gingerbread, like yours. Now I have a recipe. Thank you! :-)

    1. You're welcome, Rambling Tart. I hope you find it delicious.

  3. The last time I made gingerbread was 4 1/2 years ago, for our wedding. I made a total of 5 cakes, & the gingerbread was tipped with a lemon glaze of my own creation. Competing against carrot cake, lemon silk cake, a ridiculously decadent chocolate one, a very white, white cake (that took me 5 test recipes, before finding THE white cake, at hubby's request - I think he just wanted to keep those test cakes coming!) , the gingerbread was the least eaten. But there were only 20 people in attendance, & not only was that a lot of cake, but, we had a huge grill-full of kabobs, in 3 different meats, & a slew of other favorites. I was kind of surprised ANY of it was eaten! Lol

    Thanks for the reminder of the gingerbread! Its high time another found its way onto out plates!

  4. Carla, all those cakes sound delicious. What a wedding feast that must have been! I'm smiling at your comment about your hubby enjoying all the test cakes.

  5. Rachelle, thank you for visiting!

  6. Love this recipe. I have always loved gingerbread since I was a child and love the pear sauce - sounds absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Tuesday with a Twist.

  7. The pear sauce does sound good, doesn't it? I was wishing I had the half-and-half to make it with our gingerbread.

  8. This looks so yummy. I'm pinning the recipe. I'll have to make this over the next month or so.

  9. I hope you enjoy it, Rhonda. Thanks for the pin.

  10. That looks wonderful! I'm going to pin this for later.

    Thanks so much for sharing at Handmade Christmas!

  11. I've really enjoyed your series, Angi.

  12. Thanks for sharing on From the Farm hop. I don't yet have a good gingerbread recipe, so I may try this one. It looks delicious in the photo, and also looks easy to make.

  13. This is the perfect time of the year for this lovely gingerbread! Just pinned and shared on FB:)))

    Thanks so much for sharing this lovely recipe!
    Hugs from Freedom Fridays With All My Bloggy Friends!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing it, Evelyn.

  15. Anonymous12:43 PM

    You always have the best pictures with your recipes! Mmmm. This sounds like it would be perfect with coffee. :)

  16. My favorite recipe comes from a cookbook from Campbell's . Not only did it have recipes but a brief history about it.

  17. How wonderful a small piece of this would be, especially not that the air has become so cool.

  18. Ann, Ann and Lynn: I love it with a mug of hot chocolate. I wonder if that's one reason I was craving it: the weather is cooler and it's time for "fall" things.

    Thank you all for stopping by!

  19. I love Gingerbread in the winter! Thanks so much for linking to Freedom Fridays! I've pinned this and have it scheduled to be shared on FB today :) Have a Happy Thanksgiving - we hope you'll join us again this week! {hugs}

  20. Thank you for sharing the post, Jamie. :-)

  21. Hi Kathi! I featured your post on The Creative Home & Garden! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Kathi, I saw this featured at the Creative Home and Garden Hop- I can see why- it looks wonderful! I know what you mean about trying to re-create that certain taste that we remember- mom's gingerbread or grandmother's tea cakes. I do love gingerbread- I make a shoo-fly cake that has a great gingerbread flavor.

    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe! :)

    Love, Joy @ Yesterfood

    1. Thank you, Joy. I'm glad you stopped by. :-)

  23. Anonymous8:26 AM

    I love your tutorial and especially love the recipe for ginger bread, I will be making it soon. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick