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Southern Culinary Arts: Mama Schaffer's Gingerbread

Updated on December 24, 2012

Culinary arts - southern desserts

This is another heirloom recipe for southern desserts from my great-grandmother’s collection of Southern food and culinary arts. It’s an old recipe for gingerbread – I guess they didn’t have the boxed mixes back then. It includes hot water, which somewhat baffles me. Actually, it’s not just hot water – it calls for boiling water. Why the hot water? What does it do? The only thing I can figure out is that it melts the shortening. Remember, this was way before the handy microwave oven was invented! Maybe the boiling water also makes the molasses blend with the other ingredients more easily. ??

I like the kind of gingerbread we used to get in school when I was a kid. It was always soft and warm and covered with a lemony glaze. This original recipe does not include a glaze, but I added one. I think it will make the gingerbread even tastier!

I can hardly wait to make this. I imagine it will fill the house with a tantalizingly delicious aroma. I think this would make a wonderful fall treat, Thanksgiving dessert, or Christmas goody. The gingerbread would also be a nice from-your-kitchen gift. You might want to include a copy of the recipe, and let the recipient know that it’s an heirloom recipe!

Here’s the recipe! Hope you enjoy it.

Mama Schaffer’s Gingerbread

What you’ll need:

½ cup sugar

¼ cup shortening

½ cup boiling water

1 cup molasses

1 egg

1 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon soda (baking soda, I presume)

Directions:

Cream sugar and shortening together. Add boiling water, molasses, and egg.

Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture.

Batter will be thin. Pour into a greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

While still warm, drizzle lemon glaze on top of gingerbread, or sift it with powdered sugar.

Lemon glaze: Mix together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and just a little melted butter. Spoon it over the gingerbread.

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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Hmmmmm sounds great, got to try it. Thank you

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I loved gingerbread when I was a kid! Yum.

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 7 years ago from SE US

      Probably my favorite "comfort" dessert. Always glad to get your tried and true recipes. Thanks!

    • Cheri Schultz profile image

      Cheri Schultz 7 years ago from Midwest

      I was reading this and I said Wow - My grandma made gingerbread when I was a child and it smelled so good. Thank you for this addition. I am hungry and I smell the gingerbread - I will bring the coffee!!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      I need to save this and make it for my little German mother-in-law. She loves gingerbread. My Husband's grandparents who are gone now used to send us a

      Christmas treat called liebkoken....I think that is how it's spelled I can't remember it has been years since they sent us anything. I bet Hello Hello would know what I am talking about.....Lockerman :-)

    • ehern33 profile image

      ehern33 7 years ago

      Never really liked ginger bread until I hit my 20's and I have no clue why.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      I love the bite-size pan! Great recipe and will have to retry it - I love gingerbread but it always gives me heartburn - oh well, little price to pay and thanks for a great recipe. A

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Hmm love ginger cake. We have ginger parkin. Sounds similar

    • sabrebIade profile image

      sabrebIade 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      My aunt used to make gingerbread so strong it burned. I always wondered about that.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Me, too, HH!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, CM. Thanks for reading!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the kind words, Rope!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Okay, Cheri! Make mine decaf!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Mmm...that sounds good, too, Tams!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Ehern. They say our tastes change every seven years. ??

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Audrey, take some Zantac before eating it!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hello, Ethel! Never heard of ginger parkin, but if it's like gingerbread, I'd like it!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Wow, Sabre, was it good??

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      Good plan - actually I take famotidine and that seems to work, too! I love ginger cookies....oh my...I'm still looking for this crazy recipe I had in the 70's or 80's that I made gingerbread baskets and things out of - it was totally moldable - but I leant my book to a friend and never saw it again! I bet you know it....if you do, let me know! It was so thin but so great and as I say - totally moldable into every possible shape.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Wow, Audrey - sounds cool, but I can't help you. If you find it, please write a hub about it!

    • profile image

      lovestoread 6 years ago

      Wonderful informative cooking ideas habee. The old time recipes cannot be over shadowed by today's premixes. Our grandparents learnt to do it the hard way but also the best. Thanks for sharing.

      Blessings.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      I totally agree, Lovestoread! I love the heirloom recipes!

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