Monday, January 16, 2012

Not Just For Christmas:Gingerbread

 I bought a 4 gingerbread man pan by Wilton from someone on Ebay in November. My goal was to make personalized gingerbread people for my seldom seen nephews and niece and for (more importantly) my dearest friend/almost sister and her family.

These are gingerbread CAKES, not cookies and I found a terrific recipe for them on  And with a little practice, I made a nice dozen gingerbread people.

My daughters are artistic and JR, age 12, took charge of creating the decorations.

She did her "cousins" and their parents--complete with a beard for their dad. And she did these for her 3 cousins. The boys are into hockey so those are hockey masks they're wearing.

And then I discovered that the decorating icing that was supposed to set hard was smearing. Ack!
We managed to carefully wrap the ones not shown here. And they made it to the wilds of upstate New York relatively unscathed. But the ones for my nephews and niece were too smeary, so we took them to my parents' house and my sweet daughters had fun biting their cousin's heads off at Christmas :D

Sadly, it's the nearest we got to seeing him, because somehow my brother and his family are never there for Christmas. So I delayed sending a "Christmas" package till I had more time, and this week baked more gingerbread people, intending on sending them up with some decorating icing tubes and their Christmas gifts.

And something went wrong and we ended up with a batch of delicious but totally dismembered gingies that we are busy eating. But they weren't in shape to send!

 So I gave up and just baked a gingerbread cake in an 8 inch pan to send up to Brooklyn.

 And I had enough batter left over to bake 3 mini cakes in small glass baking dishes. Perfect for the girls to have for dessert.

When making the second batch, I was short on molasses and had to sub a brown sugar/water blend for half the amount. JR and I decided we liked it better that way, so I'm giving directions for that here.

It's always interesting to read comments on the recipes on All Recipes. Someone will say "this is a great recipe--this is how I changed it" and often the recipe bears next to no resemblance to the original!  Here there were lots of recommendations to up the spices, so the cinnamon, ginger and cloves have all been doubled. I have some lovely strong Vietnamese cinnamon from Penzeys, which recommended that you go down to 2/3 the recommended amount, which I did. And if you have such cinnamon, I'd suggest doing the same.

The recipe gives you directions for a 9 inch pan. An 8 inch pan took about 50 minutes, and the gingerbread cupcakes take from 20-30 minutes.  But no matter how you bake it, no matter how it looks, it is always delicious!


1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup molasses 
(or combine 3/4 cup brown sugar with 1/4 cup water. Add 1/2 cup of this to 1/2 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan.
In a large bowl or in a stand mixer cream together the sugar and butter.
Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses and brown sugar/water blend.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
Blend into the creamed mixture.
Stir in the hot water.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool in pan before serving.


  1. Jim Photoglo has an amazing gingerbread recipe that calls for ground, fresh, and candied. [We can never have too much ginger in our family.] I'm unable to get the link to that (it's on his own website along with other recipes) because I'm getting a message that says it's an "attack" site.

  2. We have the candied kind in the house--got it at Penzeys. Seldom use the fresh, though minced jarred ginger is a staple in my fridge for various Asian recipes!



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