The Gingerbread Adventure, Part One

The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook, by Fannie Merritt Farmer, can be found in its entirety here.

The first recipe, found on page 482 (see previous post for photo of page 482) is very straightforward and simple.

Hot Water Gingerbread
1 cup molasses 1 teaspoon soda
½ cup boiling water 1-1/2 teaspoons ginger
2-1/4 cups flour ½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter

Add water to molasses. Mix and sift dry ingredients, combine mixtures, add butter, and beat vigorously. Pour into a buttered shallow pan, and bake twenty-five minutes in a moderate oven. *Chicken fat tried out and clarified furnishes an excellent shortening, and my be used in place of butter.

Notes on the process: Baking time for me in a regular electric oven was 35 minutes, not 25 as directed. I was brought up using 350F as a moderate oven temperature. I used Crisco to grease a 9”x9” pan.

First batch

First batch baking...

*Trying out chicken fat was a measure suggested to conserve other fats, such as butter, for the War Effort, according to my research.

Notes on the product: It is most lovely, rich and dark with plenty of plenty of spice. The crust is almost crisp, with a moist, soft crumb in the center.

Official taste-testers: The Author, her Husband, her Sister, and the members of both the Author’s Primary Years Programme teaching teams. We’ve all declared it “the best so far.”

Hot Water Gingerbread

"The Best So Far"


About vst3in

I am a writer, avid reader, birder, food preserver, and retired school library lady. I love colors and textures looking for them in the world around me. I'm working on a historical novel and reading lots of books for young people. I'm working to stay strong into my senior years, and I sail with my husband. This blog contains thoughts about all these things.
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3 Responses to The Gingerbread Adventure, Part One

  1. vst3in says:

    Reblogged this on The Best of It and commented:

    I began some gingerbread experiments two Decembers ago, in the interest of research for the book. They were good, and it was fun. I never got through all eleven recipes in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook because they got noticeably less gingery, dark and fragrant. I do believe that the first of the five was my favorite in the end, but a new set of experiments surely wouldn’t hurt anything, would it? Enjoy! The introductory post with the lovely history included was the prior week, but let’s get right to the recipes, shall we? I’ll get back to the history when I’m done eating gingerbread.

  2. My Mother’s favorite substitute for a butter was goose fat. She used it in all types of cookies and other such baked goods. I was never told why she substituted it. The substitute taste always stood out distinctly to me and I would envy those who had a Mother who used butter instead. Everyone else in my family thought the goose fat was wonderful. Would I have understood the taste better if I knew what noble deed we were contributing to? I wonder……

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