In the 17th century, the making of gingerbread was considered to be such an art form in Germany that the city of Nuremberg created a guild for the bakers of lebkuchen (a type of gingerbread).
Master bakers came from all over Europe to learn this specialty, and guild members were the only people legally permitted to bake it.
This recipe for gingerbread, in muffin form, is one destined to be a family favorite. You can mix the dry ingredients together beforehand and add the rest of the ingredients as the oven preheats.
Gingerbread-Sour Cream Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 8-ounce carter dairy sour cream
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup mild-flavored molasses
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1. Grease bottoms of twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups, set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, fresh or ground ginger, baking powder, allspice or cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. In another medium bowl, mix milk, egg, sour cream, brown sugar and molasses. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (should be a little lumpy).
4. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling each nearly full. In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar and crystallized ginger. Sprinkle over the muffin batter. Bake in a 400 F oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups, serve warm.
Makes 12 muffins at 211 calories each.
Make your own
holiday ice-cream cake
1 16-ounce pound cake, not frozen
6 cups good ice cream, softened slightly
1 16-ounce jar hot fudge sauce
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup water
10 Oreo cookies, chopped
1 cup chilled whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1. Cut cake into 1/3-inch thick slices. Half each slice diagonally, forming triangles. Cover bottom of 9-inch diameter springform pan with cake by arranging the triangles around the edge of pan and filling in the center. Spread half of ice cream over cake. Freeze about 1 hour.
2. Stir fudge sauce, chocolate chips and 1/4 cup water in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm. Spread half of fudge sauce over ice cream. Sprinkle with chopped cookies. Top with enough remaining cake slices to cover. Spread remaining ice cream over top. Freeze 1 hour.
3. Stir remaining fudge sauce over medium-low heat until lukewarm. Pour sauce over ice cream, spreading to edge. Use a piece of plastic wrap to cover cake and freeze at least 6 hours or overnight.
4. Beat cream and sugar in medium bowl to peaks. Remove plastic wrap and spread whipped cream around cake. Sprinkle leftover Oreos on top.
Susan Woody has been a food writer for more than 20 years and is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.