Gingerbread was originally invented as a digestive aid to be eaten at the end of a meal to help prevent indigestion. The original gingerbread was simply a piece of raw, peeled ginger placed inside a small ball of bread. This evolved into a more palatable concoction made with breadcrumbs, honey, ginger and other spices. Today’s ginger bread is traditionally made with molasses instead of honey and flour instead of breadcrumbs which gives us our modern-day, classic, dark-colored variety of this sweet treat. I guess both me and my horses love molasses!
If you aren't much of a baker, Trader Joe's has Triple Ginger Snaps. Six cookies contain 140 calories, 5g fat, 0g fiber, 21g carb, 130mg sodium. Ingredients: Unbleached wheat flour, brown sugar, butter, crystallized ginger (ginger, sugar), molasses, eggs, fresh ginger, baking soda, ground ginger, Kosher salt. Crunchy, sweet, and a little spicy. I love the little bits of candied ginger. Yummy!
Chocolate Gingerbread Bars (From Everyday Food, December 2008)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with a strip of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper. Dust paper and sides of pan with cocoa; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, ginger, pumpkin-pie spice, and baking soda; set aside.
2.In a large bowl, whisk together butter, brown sugar, molasses, egg, and sour cream until smooth. Add flour mixture; stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Stir in chocolate chips. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top.
3.Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely. Using paper overhang, lift gingerbread from pan. Transfer to a cutting board, and cut into 16 squares. Before serving, dust bars with confectioners sugar, if desired. (To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.)
Gingerbread Snacking Cake (From Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1997/1998)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup unsulfured molasses
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1.Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch cake pan; set aside. In a bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground spices, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
2.In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light. Beat in brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in molasses and grated ginger, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in eggs.
3.Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares; dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Gingerbread Men Cookies
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons Ginger, Ground
1 teaspoon Cinnamon, Ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, Ground
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1.Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
3.Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.
Ultimate Ginger Cookies (From Ina Garten, online and in Barefoot Contessa at Home)
Makes 16 cookies
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 egg, at room temperature
1¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger (6 ounces)
Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.
4. Scoop the dough with two spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1¾-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the baking sheets.
5. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.