Ginger, molasses, cinnamon, and cloves give this bread a deep, rich, classic gingerbread flavor. The addition of whirred oats to the flour increases the nutritional benefits, as well as making each slice hearty and substantial. Serve it with your favorite hot drink, and possibly some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream , and it is the perfect snack or dessert. (It works for breakfast too!)
Below, I am sharing another recipe based on one I found in Susan Wittig Albert’s fascinating book, “China Bayles’ Book of Days: 365 Celebrations of the Mystery, Myth, and Magic of Herbs from the World of Pecan Springs.” The recipe is for a form of traditional Scottish oatmeal gingerbread. I substitute blackstrap molasses for the treacle and bake it in a standard-sized loaf pan instead of a 7-inch square baking pan, but other than that, I stick pretty close to the recipe in the book. And my gingerbread has come out delicious every time. I love the fact that this gingerbread tastes sweet and full of richly spiced flavor, yet has good nutrition in it too. The molasses and oats contribute all kinds of good things, including iron, magnesium, manganese, not to mention fiber and protein from the oats. When I cut a slice of this bread, it is dense and substantial. I feel like I am doing something good for both my taste buds and my body. And my soul too, because gingerbread is a delicious solution (however temporary) to a soul’s longing for comfort. The smell of gingerbread baking is the iconic cozy smell, and it brings back all kinds of memories for me, of wandering through my mother’s kitchen after spending time outside in the cold.
This is the perfect time of year to make gingerbread. (Actually, any time between now and spring is a good time.) When the wind is gusting right through our coats and the leaves are swirling around, we need something warm and comforting. As I am writing this post, the wind is blowing so hard that it is rattling the windows and making the house creak. We lose electricity quite frequently out here where I live, among so many trees, so I am hoping to get this post done before we lose power. And hopefully, we won’t lose power. All this dramatic weather is enough to make one feel kind of moody, wistful, nostalgic, and excited, all at the same time. It’s a good time to indulge in the more complicated aspects of our personalities. Maybe that’s why the multi-layered spicy taste of the gingerbread is so appealing.
There is something cleansing about going out in the crazy, windy weather, especially if there is something warm waiting on the other side of the door. This quote by L.M. Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series (one of my favorite sets of books when I was a girl), says it perfectly: “It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”
I hope you all have a great weekend, and that the wind blows the fogs out of your souls as well. And that you have a hot drink and a warm piece of gingerbread waiting when you come in! This recipe will be shared at Angie’s festive Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Judi@Cooking With Aunt Juju and Stef@The Kiwi Fruit.
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons of molasses (I prefer blackstrap molasses)
- 1 and 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 cup of whirred oats (make this by whirring 1/2 cup of uncooked, old fashioned rolled oats in your blender)
- 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 3 tablespoons of milk
- 1 large egg, beaten
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a standard-sized loaf pan with butter. (You can also use a 7 inch square baking pan). In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, granulated sugar, and molasses over medium to low heat until the butter is just melted. Stir to combine.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Add the whirred oats, brown sugar, and spices. Stir to combine. Add the melted butter mixture and the milk, then stir in the beaten egg. Stir until all combined. Pour into the greased pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired. Enjoy!