Here’s a wonderful treat we can all enjoy for our New Year celebrations and it’s coming right up, but first, Camano Island cook Amy Perkins tells us, “I meant to send this recipe a month ago as it’s traditionally eaten at Christmastime, but it’s good any time of the year as well.
“This has been in our family for over 100 years.
“It is a gingerbread loaf that is sliced thin and served with sharp cheddar cheese on it.”
Birch family gingerbread
3 3/4 cups flour (it originally called for 6 cups, which made a very hard loaf!)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons ginger
1 tablespoon allspice
2 cups molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1/2) cup margarine or butter, melted
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ginger and allspice, mix well and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the molasses, brown sugar, eggs and melted margarine or butter, mixing together thoroughly. Add molasses mixture to flour mixture, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Divide mixture between two greased 5-by-9-inch loaf pans, filling each half-full. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (The original recipe called for 350 degrees, but it often burned on the sides and bottom. If there is stlll a problem at 325 degrees, then place pans into a water bath before baking.)
The batter can also be turned into 3 smaller pans (8 inches) instead of the larger ones.
To make a strong flavor, you can use dark molasses and dark brown sugar and all of the spices. For a milder taste, you can use the lighter molasses and sugar and cut down on the spices. Remember, the spices were originally this same amount, but mixed through more flour. Makes 2 standard (or 3 smaller) loaves.
Note: This recipe also turns out very well when made gluten free. Substitute a gluten-free, all-purpose flour mix instead of the wheat flour, and add 1 teaspoon xanthum gum.
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