New Gingerbread Information:
~Source Publix Monthly Mailing~

The ginger plant originated in southeast Asia.

The name "ginger" is derived from the Sanskrit "srngaveram" which means "horn root".

In Medieval England, gingerbread simply meant "preserved ginger" and evolved form the Old French "gingebras" which came from "zingebar" the Latin name of the spice.

In Medieval Europe, ginger was the second most highly traded spice after pepper.

According to legend, Queen Elizabeth 1st of England invented the "gingerbread man".

The English brought ginger to the American colonies early on. Ginger cookies were handed out to persuade Virginia voters to elect certain candidates for the House of Burgesses.

During the 19th century, gingerbread was modernized and romanticized when the Grimm brothers collected the fairy tale about Hansel and Gretel. This story was about two children who were lost in the woods when they discovered a house made of bread, cake and candles.

Gingerbread has been baked in Europe for centuries. In some places, it was a soft, delicately spiced cake; in others, a crisp, flat cookie, and in others, warm, thick, steamy-dark squares of "bread," sometimes served with a pitcher of lemon sauce or whipped cream. It was sometimes light, sometimes dark, sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy, but it was almost always cut into shapes such as men, women, stars or animals, and colorfully decorated or stamped with a mold and dusted with white sugar to make the impression visible.The term may be imprecise because in Medieval England gingerbread meant simply "preserved ginger" and was a corruption of the Old French gingebras, derived from the Latin name of the spice, Zingebar. It was only in the fifteenth century that the term came to be applied to a kind of cake made with treacle and flavored with ginger.Ginger was also discovered to have a preservative effect when added to pastries and bread, and this probably led to the development of recipes for ginger cakes, cookies, Australian gingernuts and flavored breads.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

1 cup brown sugar blended with
1/2 cup lard or other shortening.
1 cup molasses mixed well with this.
2 teaspoons baking soda in 1 cup boiling water
(Be sure cup is full of water after foam is run off into cake mixture).
Mix all well.
To 3 cups of flour have added one teaspoon each of the following
spices: ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves;
and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Sift all into cake mixture and mix well.
Add lastly 2 well-beaten eggs.
The mixture should be quite thin.

Bake in a moderate oven for thirty minutes.
Raisins and, or, candied fruit may be added and a chocolate frosting adds to the goodness.

Letter reproduced and quoted with permission of the Estate of Roger Lea MacBride.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

1/3 Cup Butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 Cup Sugar, granulated
1 Large Egg
3/4 Cup Molasses, dark
3/4 Cup Pumpkin, cooked and smashed or canned pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie mix)
2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teas. Baking Soda
1/2 Teas. Baking Powder
1 Teas. Ground Cinnamon
2 Teas. Ground Ginger
1/2 Teas. Ground Cloves
1 Cup Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or butter a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan.*

Combine or sift together the flour and next 5 dry ingredients. Set aside.

Beat softened butter at medium speed with electric mixer until light and creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses, beating until blended. Add pureed pumpkin, mixing until well blended.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until well blended and smooth.

Pour into buttered pan and bake in 350 oven for 35-40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool at least one hour before serving. Freezes well.

NOTE: You can use a Bundt cake pan or holiday pan and drizzle with a cinnamon glaze made with confectionerís sugar, ground cinnamon, and water. Or you can make an orange or lemon glaze with the freshly squeezed juices (or Gran Marinier for a more elegant touch) and top the glaze with orange or lemon zest or candied zests.

This cake travels well for packed lunches; sliced and toasted for Breakfast Toast itís simply delightful.