This gingerbread sucks.

This gingerbread sucks.

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Let me tell you why it sucks:

Boiling water.

I got the recipe from the side of my molasses. I was looking at my molasses (as most people do in their kitchens by themselves on Saturday nights) and I decided to make the jar’s recipe for gingerbread. Everything about it sounded delicious. Except the boiling water.

So you cream the butter with sugar and molasses; you add an egg; then you add that glorious mixture of flour, ginger, cinnamon, and ground cloves. At that point you think to yourself, “Wow, self, what nice bread this will make.” But the recipe has you add a cup of boiling water. Then it turns into watery gunk.

And by the picture you can tell it baked up fine. That’s not the issue. It’s just so aerated. The flavor is so dissipated. It tastes like Ginger Wonder Bread.

May I suggest that when your molasses tells you to add boiling water to your batter that you don’t. Sometimes molasses is just wrong.

5 comments

  1. Before committing to a future of gingerbread made without boiling water I would like you to post the results of you making it without boiling water. My memory is that there’s a reason for it to be boiling; I think it has to do with dissolving the molasses properly.

    Did you use light rather than dark molasses? Only dark molasses makes decent gingerbread. Light molasses is useless.

  2. Two of the secrets of good gingerbread, in my experience, are to use dark molasses (“full flavored”, one brand calls it) and to boost the ginger. Definitely more ground dried ginger, and adding finely chopped crystallized ginger is nice too. If you have fresh ginger on hand, grate it and throw some of that in too. :-)

    I think gingerbread also benefits from a syrupy lemon glaze on top. When you take it out of the oven and it’s cooled a little, poke little holes all over it with a bamboo skewer then pour the glaze over so it soaks in. The lemon and the ginger work really nicely together. Yum.

  3. It doesn’t seem to me like a wet batter would cause a cake that’s too airy. I mean, not in-and-of-itself. If you prefer a denser cake, maybe you want to start with a fruitcake-ish recipe and adjust the spicing to bring it into gingerbread territory.

  4. The best gingerbread I ever had was a free sample in the bookstore where I work. We had an author event where they gave out samples from the cookbook “Seasons of Thyme.” (catchy title, no?) They put whipped cream on it and everything and it was the best gingerbread EVER. We still have the cookbook in stock but I haven’t made the gingerbread because it’s not winter anymore and when it WAS winter I made gingerbread cookies. But, um, try that gingerbread, if you’re ever in the mood for really good gingerbread.

  5. actually either you did it wrong or the recipe told you to do it wrong.

    The boiling water recipe has you adding 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, then half the boiling water, then another third of the flour, the rest of the water and the rest of the flour. You beat in each addition before adding the next. The result is a wonderfully flavored, beautifully textured, moist gingerbread that retains both flavor and moisture even after many days and after freezing and thawing. On the other hand, if you figure the heck with all that and just add in the flour as one and the water as one you get a mess that bakes into a vastly inferior gingerbread.

    The five step boiling water gingerbread is MUCH better than the crap that’s dense as concrete and dries out in a day you get from other recipes.

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