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BVC Eats: Gramma Dornfeld’s molasses gingerbread

Winter wasn’t winter without Gramma Dornfeld’s gingerbread. It was dark and fluffy and a little bitter, and we ate it hot out of the oven, sitting around the Franklin stove, fetching wood now and then, and listening to Papa Dornfeld singing along to German drinking songs played at deafening volume on the Victrola.

Gramma Dornfeld’s Molasses Gingerbread

1/2 cup Crisco-type shortening or softened butter
…Crisco actually works better
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup dark molasses (for pete’s sake don’t use light molasses)
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp dried ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup hot water

In a deep bowl, cream the shortening, sugar, eggs, and molasses until very fluffy.

Sift the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

At high speed, mix half the dry ingredients with half the wet ingredient mix for 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl with a spatula often. Add half the hot water and mix for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the dry ingredients for 30 seconds, then the rest of the wet ingredients for 30 seconds, then the last of the hot water for 1 minute. The batter will be light colored and fluffy.

Bake in a muffin tin or in a 9″ square pan at 350o for 50 minutes. This gingerbread bakes up so delicate and fluffy that I recommend using parchment paper in your 9″ pan, or muffin cup liners, otherwise the gingerbread tends to crumble when coming out of the pan.

They don’t rise a lot. Don’t panic. These are the lightest, fluffiest muffins ever.

Try breaking them open and putting a dollop of sour cream mixed with a bit of brown sugar on each steaming half.

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