Saturday, December 3, 2011

What would Laura bake?

In keeping with yesterday's theme, I decided to do a little baking today.  Rather than jump right into sourdough starter or salt rising bread, I went with a tried and true favorite - gingerbread.

Laura's gingerbread recipe is a perfect example of something that is a more closely linked to adult Laura rather than Little House Laura.  Laura became well-known for her gingerbread when the favorite recipe was included in the Laura Ingalls Wilder issue of The Horn Book in 1953.  I've made the recipe many times and it really is delicious gingerbread, more like a cake than a cookie.

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup molasses

2 teaspoons baking soda
mixed into 1 cup boiling water

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon each:
ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 beaten eggs

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9x9 baking pan
2.  Blend the sugar and the shortening and mix in the molasses
3.  Add the baking soda to the boiling water and mix well
4.  Combine the flour and the spices.  Combine the sugar-molasses mixture with the flour mixture and the baking soda-water liquid.  Lastly, add the eggs.  Mix ingredients well and pour into prepared pan.
5.  Bake for 30-45 minutes or until toothpick  inserted in the center of the gingerbread comes out clean.

I've learned from painful experience that it's really important not to skip the toothpick tester thingy.  Trust me.

If all goes well, you should end up with something like this

Laura suggested that raisins and/or candied fruit could be added and that chocolate frosting "adds to the goodness" but I prefer my gingerbread pure, untouched by these extras.

Rose Wilder Lane, Laura's daughter, wrote about a time when she made the gingerbread as a pre-teen but used cayenne pepper by mistake, instead of ginger.  I actually think a little cayenne pepper might add an interesting side note...maybe next time.


  1. I never really like gingerbread when I was younger. Love it now. When I made it last year, I sprinkled some powdered sugar on top.

  2. I have never made Laura's gingerbread so I think that is my goal for the holidays. I am not much of a baker. I love molasses cookies so I am hoping for the best. I was thinking maybe a bit of icing...but Laura I may try powdered sugar first.

  3. I've used a really thin sugar/apple juice glaze before and it was delicious. Powedered sugar is great too.


Pull up a chair on the porch, have some lemonade and leave your comment in my mailbox. Thanks for visiting my little cottage!