I love gingerbread. There’s something so cozy and comforting about it. For several years we lived near Laura Ingalls Wilder’s farm in Mansfield, Missouri. On one visit, we bought a cookbook that had Laura’s recipe for gingerbread. I knew I had to try it, because for some reason I trusted her taste in such a traditional baked good. I was right. It was delicious.
But I had to tweak the recipe to suit the ingredients that I use. For instance, I don’t use shortening. Ever. But I keep two kinds of coconut oil on hand at all times. Coconut oil is an excellent healthy substitute for shortening. I made my own brown sugar (see below), and added crystallized ginger. So I made my changes, and it’s just as good… maybe even a little better.
I was going to use my pretty mixing bowl and not the enormous mixer that I have. You know, do it the old-fashioned way and at the same time make the pictures pretty. (Here’s a keeping it real moment, folks.) We’re still working on our old farmhouse, and it is darn cold in here right now! So my coconut oil and my molasses were so cold, there’s no way I could have used a bowl and spoon. Have you ever heard the saying, “slow as cold molasses”? Well, I have a new appreciation for that saying, but I don’t appreciate cold molasses. Into the electric mixer went the coconut oil and unrefined sugar to cream. Then I added the cup of molasses and an extra tablespoon (see below).
Add the baking soda to boiling water. Use a medium bowl or quart measuring cup as the baking soda will bubble up.
Combine the flour, spices, crystallized ginger and salt. I used extra salt and ginger. Add to the coconut oil mixture. Warning: While scraping the sides of the bowl, your hands may become messy. Occupational hazard.
Add the water and soda and then the eggs to the flour and oil mixture. I like to crack the eggs into a dish first when I use farm fresh eggs. You just never know when a bad one has slipped through.
Grease your baking dish or pan and pour in the batter. Bake at 350° for about 35 minutes and check your gingerbread. It could take about 45 minutes.
It’s done when a toothpick comes out clean. I like to touch the top to see if it’s starting to set.
Enjoy with a cup of your favorite tea and a good read in front of a fire. We love our gingerbread with a slice of Dubliner cheese, Kerrygold butter, slices of apple and Chai. Try the combinations of flavors. I promise, it is amazing. If you don’t have a fire to sit in front, no worries. Light a candle or oil lamp and get a space heater to warm your toes.
Comment if you make this recipe and let us know how you enjoyed yours. What beverage did you have? Did you pair it with cheese or apples? Share with us!
Choose Your Sugar and How to Make Your Own Brown Sugar
I chose to use unrefined sugar in place of brown sugar. Unrefined sugar sometimes goes by the name of Sucanat (sugar cane natural) or Rapadura. It’s sugar that hasn’t had all of the goodness removed. It still has chromium, potassium, B6, iron, and calcium, which actually help balance blood sugar.
I sometimes use regular organic sugar. It’s refined but still has a touch of the molasses in it.
Coconut sugar is made from the flower buds of the coconut palm, has a low glycemic index and contains trace minerals.
To make your own brown sugar, simple add one tablespoon of molasses to one cup of sugar. Why did I add molasses to already flavorful sugar? Because of the moisture I lost due to not using brown sugar.
Almost Laura Ingalls Wilder's Gingerbread Recipe
An strong spiced gingerbread that is moist and delicious
- 1 cup unrefined sugar, coconut sugar or organic sugar plus 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup boiling water in quart measuring cup
- 2 cups organic unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 tsp each nutmeg, ground cloves, cinnamon, allspice (use more or less to suit taste)
- 1/2 cup crystallized ginger (optional but delicious)
- 2 tsp ginger (use more or less to suit taste)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9×13 inch pan
- Blend the sugar and coconut oil
- Add the molasses
- Add the baking soda to the boiling water
- Combine the flour, spices, salt and crystallized ginger and add to the sugar and oil mixture.
- Add the water and soda to the flour/ sugar mixture and combine.
- Add in the eggs and mix well.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.