- Dish type
- Biscuits and cookies
Gingerbread flowers that are suitable for all ages, especially kids, easy to make and super yummy! Decorate as you please.
Fife, Scotland, UK
1 person made this
IngredientsMakes: 20 depending on size of cutters
- 350g plain flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
- 100g chilled butter or margarine
- 175g light muscovado sugar
- 1 medium egg
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- flower cookie cutter
- writing icing
MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:12min ›Extra time:5min cooling › Ready in:37min
- Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease baking tray.
- Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon and bicarbonate soda into large bowl. Cut the butter into chunks and stir until butter is coated with flour.
- Rub the butter into the flour until it becomes breadcrumbs then stir in the sugar.
- Break the egg into a small bowl and beat. Add the syrup and beat in then add this mixture to your breadcrumbs and mix.
- Squeeze the mixture together until its smooth and dough-like then cut in half. Roll out the dough until it is roughly 5mm thick then cut out your shapes.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, then cool for 5 minutes.
Great for kids parties or for school holidays when kids are bored :)
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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute. Combine the buttermilk and soda and set aside. In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the spices. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, blending well but not beating. Stir in the buttermilk, then the molasses. Pour into the pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
Anna Thomas, a few canvas bags hanging on one arm, wanders the rows of the Ventura farmers market just eight hours before her guests are to sit around the table in the soaring great room of her home in Ojai. She chooses yellow onions and prune plums, leeks and walnuts as an ocean breeze cools the shoppers on one of the hottest days of the season.
Though she’s hardly a familiar name today, Thomas is the one who in the early 1970s lured many a hungry idealist rebelling against a meat-and-potatoes childhood into the kitchen with “The Vegetarian Epicure,” a seminal book that came out of nowhere to sell more than 1 million copies.
More than 30 years later, she has another new cookbook, “Love Soup,” a collection of 100 soups and dishes to eat with them, that she hopes will lure a new generation into the kitchen in much the same way her first book did. Like so many cooks, she worries that people are losing touch with an essential skill and is determined to do her part to halt the decline.
And she sees soup as a solution. “I’ve been really thinking about this a lot. Soup is the portal to home cooking. You cannot make too terrible a mistake with soup,” Thomas says. “Don’t we want to know how to take care of ourselves a little?”
But today, changing the culinary world is the last thing on her mind. She’s thinking about an evening with friends. Thomas has been cooking for her friends for decades this will be a snap.
“Yes! Dinosaur kale!” she says, buying two bunches as she explains that it’s named for “the way your toy dinosaurs looked. Because who knows what their skin really looked like?”
Although she doesn’t need them for dinner, she takes the last two irresistible baskets of Gaviota strawberries from another farmer. And at the Peacock Farms stand, the young vendor assures her that although it’s early in the season, the Fuyu persimmons are sweet.
“My favorite way to go to the market is not to have a plan, just to wander and see what calls me,” she says, taking off her elegant, green-framed sunglasses to reveal eyes the color of the Caribbean.
In fact, her first cookbook, published in 1972, was her solution to caring for herself, albeit an audacious one. A UCLA film student without much money, she took the advice of friends who appreciated her cooking and wrote a book, and she has since balanced careers in film and food. At the moment, Thomas is working on a film dramatizing the life of Israeli poet Rachel Blaustein.
“The Vegetarian Epicure” stands as a culinary touchstone for many baby boomers. My copy came as a Christmas gift from my mother shortly after I graduated from college. As a girl who was well acquainted with tuna casserole held together by Campbell’s mushroom soup, I considered myself sophisticated, even a little groovy, for making potage les deux champignons from Thomas’ European-influenced, hippie-tinged book. (The pages of the book are back-to-the-land brown, and there’s an acknowledgment that her readers just might smoke pot with their meals.)
The ratatouille page in my copy is splotchy, as is the one for sweet oatmeal raisin bread. There are risottos, curries and souffles -- not, as Thomas says, ideologically based vegetarian food.
And I’m not the only one with fond memories. “I just remember reading it cover to cover because she cooked like a European,” says Martha Rose Shulman, author of “The Vegetarian Feast,” published in 1979, and more than 25 other cookbooks. “It was the first vegetarian book that I really thought was done by a real cook,” she says.
Thomas and her then-husband, director Gregory Nava, left Los Angeles for Ojai in 1985 with their two young sons. The previous year their film “El Norte” came out. Thomas and Nava wrote it she produced, he directed, and they earned an Oscar nomination. They lived in a big ranch house, with a kitchen roomy enough for a couch.
After a divorce, and once her younger son finished high school, Thomas moved to a smaller house that snuggled up to the Topa Topa Mountains. But it needed renovation, and for three years she was left with a kitchen just 81 inches across, tucked into one part of the house. She put most of her kitchen equipment in storage.
But she kept cooking. Soup was a natural for the tiny space.
And she kept inviting friends, ringing the dinner bell with e-mails announcing, “The soup kitchen is open.”
All that soup led to her new book and to an easygoing style of entertaining
“It was really cozy. It was really great,” Thomas says.
In just a few hours, the soup kitchen, now -- post-renovation -- a soaring space around a lavishly long soapstone-topped island, will be open again.
We drive to her house along roads lined with orange trees, unpack our food, and Thomas puts me to work cleaning and chopping and measuring. We’re making the dishes in a menu from the book: roasted kabocha squash and celery root soup, kale salad with cranberries and walnuts, and Octavia’s gingerbread.
Even for soup, she uses a metric scale because it’s more exact, she says. “Two medium onions, a medium tomato. What is that?”
Chunks of turnip and celery root, and a kabocha squash cut in half go into the oven, a Wolf with a six-burner stove. The vegetables eventually are pureed for the soup.
Thomas makes the gingerbread, to be served with sweetened Greek yogurt. The recipe came from Octavia Walstrom, whom she met while making a film about the architect John Lautner. Walstrom lived in a Lautner house and made it for the crew Thomas adapted it.
Thomas, 61, heard about someone who got an offer of a date -- sight unseen, based on the gingerbread. The date, Thomas jokes, should be hers.
While we’re working, Thomas’ friend Lisa Robertson stops by to loan an immersion blender -- Thomas has burned out two of them pureeing soups -- and to talk about what she might contribute to the evening. How about Manchego cheese with quince paste? It’s something she brought to a party the night before that had gone mostly uneaten.
“I’ll take it back from Margaret,” she determines.
Thomas’ older son, Chris Nava, comes in too, with a container of mussels he’d like to make that evening. So a pasta and mussels course gets added into the mix.
Nava, 25, who trained as a musician and teaches piano, is making desserts in a new restaurant in town, with two big oven burns on his forearms to show for it. Her kitchen, Thomas says, has become like Maurice Sendak’s “The Night Kitchen,” with Chris baking into the wee hours.
Soups have always been important to Thomas. A child of immigrants, raised in Detroit and California, she grew up eating the soups of Eastern Europe and in her first book wrote that making soup and bread gives a kitchen a soul. “The Vegetarian Epicure” included barszcz, a borscht her mother made pea soup with butter dumplings minestrone chestnut and lentil soups.
The soups she makes today have less cream, and plenty are vegan. Cheese might be a garnish butter gets browned to intensify its flavor so less is needed. Onion soup in the first book called for 10 tablespoons of butter plus “ample” grated Gruyere cheese. In the new book, fennel and onion soup gets 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
It’s a small example of Thomas’ soup philosophy: “Your history is in that pot of soup.”
As the day ends, Thomas’ guests start to arrive, good friends who care about food and wine and are part of her close-knit community, many of them also transplants from city life. They’re among the people Thomas thanks in “Love Soup” for sharing produce, tasting food, offering ideas.
Steve Fields and Sims Brannon show up first, bringing a plastic container of pear sauce, homemade with Warren pears from one of the 60 heirloom fruit trees they’ve planted. It turns out to be a heavenly, serendipitous companion to the gingerbread.
“This is what happens. Everybody brings things,” says Robertson, who did repossess the quince paste, which tastes great with the cheese on some walnut bread Thomas had made another day.
Bruce and Marie Botnick, a music producer and designer who are growing olives and grapes, arrive soon, and Marie sets the table, cutting flowers and arranging them along the long wood table.
“She’s really much better at that than I am,” Thomas says.
Everyone eats appreciatively even the kitchen help gets praised. The guests talk about wine and restaurants, school food and the news of the day, a friend who is sick.
“What I loved when I started coming to Ojai, it wasn’t a restaurant culture, it was about feeding each other,” Robertson says.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 2 tablesoons vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespons butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line standard size muffin tin with paper liners.
Cowbarn Gingerbread Ingredients:
- 300g (10 1/2oz) golden syrup or clear honey
- 400g (14oz) soft light brown sugar
- 400g (14oz) unsalted butter
- Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
- 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 1kg (2lb 4oz) plain flour
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- Firm paper or card to cut out templates
- 2 x wooden poles/twigs, roughly 12cm (4 1/2in) and marzipan to secure the poles
- Toy animals and trees, to decorate
- Put the golden syrup, sugar, butter and lemon zest into a very large saucepan and place over a medium heat. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat slightly until the mixture reaches boiling point and then, working quickly, remove the saucepan from the heat and beat in the bicarbonate of soda briefly until combined. Set the saucepan aside to cool for 15 minutes.
- Sift the flour, spices and salt together, then fold them into the melted mixture in batches, using a wooden spoon. Mix in the eggs until just combined, but be cautious not to overwork the mixture or the biscuits will spread during baking.
- The dough will be very sticky to begin with, but resist adding more flour. Scrape the sticky dough out of the saucepan onto a clean, oiled surface and knead together until just smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Make your versions of the templates using firm paper or card. Cut a large sheet of greaseproof paper and roll out the gingerbread on it to a thickness of 8mm (3/8in). Using the templates as a guide, cut out house pieces from the gingerbread, but leave on the paper for ease. Transfer the gingerbread pieces, still on the paper, to a couple of baking trays and put in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up completely.
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius/fan 140 degrees C/gas mark 3. Bake the gingerbread in batches for 12-15 minutes until golden brown at the edges. Leave to cool on the baking trays for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the beaten egg white and lemon juice. Whisk, on low speed (to avoid incorporating too much air into the icing), for 2-3 minutes, until the consistency is smooth, stiff but not too wet. If the icing seems too dry and crumbly, add a little water. If it looks slightly runny, add a little extra icing sugar. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle, ready for piping.
- To assemble the gingerbread barn, pipe icing down both sides of a gable end. Attach a side wall at right angles and hold together for a few moments while the icing hardens, then use cans or jars to support the walls while they set. Continue to stick the gingerbread together by attaching another wall and the back gable so you have the walls for the barn. Leave to set for 1 hour before you add the roof.
- Decorate the side walls of the house by piping royal icing to make windows and the front door surround before you add the roof (the overhang can make this tricky).
- Lay the roof pieces flat and, with a steady hand, pipe on roof tiles. Secure the wooden poles each in a ball of marzipan to take the weight of the large, overhanging roof. Pipe the remaining icing along the tops of the four walls and gently lower the roof pieces into place.
- Leave the barn to set for a further 2 hours. Decorate with toy barn animals and trees. Serve.
Template for the Gingerbread Cowbarn recipe:
T emplates are 50 per cent actual size.
- Door: 6 x 8cm (2 1/2 x 3 1/4in)
- 2 x gable ends: 14 x 16cm (5 1/2 x 6 1/4in) including a triangle point and 10 x 10.5 x 16cm (4 x 4 1/8 x 6 1/4in)
- 2 x walls: 14 x 20cm (5 1/2 x 8in)
- 1 x roof: 15 x 22cm (6 x 8 1/2in)
- 1 x roof: 19 x 22cm (7 1/2 x 8 1/2in)
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In the bowl of a standing or electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg and beat well. Dissolve soda in milk and add to batter. Sift together ginger, cinnamon, salt, and flour, and add to batter, mixing thoroughly. Chill dough at least 24 hours.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350 degrees F. Roll dough out to ⅛-inch thickness and cut into gingerbread boy shapes. Whip egg white with a tablespoon of cold water and use a soft-bristled pastry brush to glaze cutouts, giving cookies a shiny surface and covering imperfections. Press candied fruit or nuts on cookies for eyes or noses, as desired.
Arrange cookies on a baking sheet and bake 6 to 8 minutes or longer, until firm but not too brown. Cool on racks until room temperature. Frost and decorate as you like.
- 1 cup stout beer
- 1 cup dark molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri Garam Masala
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and generously butter and flour your bundt pan, knocking out the excess flour.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the stout beer and dark molasses. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add in the baking soda and stir to combine. The mixture will bubble up, stir gently to keep it from overflowing. Allow the mixture to return to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and spices. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the eggs, sugars and vanilla extract on medium speed until well combined. Add the oil and then the molasses mixture.
- Reduce the speed to low and add in the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the bundt pan and give it a tap on the counter to remove air bubbles.
- Bake 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out mostly clean.
- Allow the cake to cool on a rack for about 5 minutes and then remove it to a plate and allow to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!
- This gingerbread keeps well and is even better the next day!
If you have some Masala left over, you should try it out in our recipes for carrot cake or pumpkin rolls.
the directions call for vanilla extract, but the ingredients don’t include it, nor does the original recipe from Gramercy Tavern referenced in the Silk Road Diary entry. It’s also not in David Lebovitz’s Fresh Ginger Cake. I’m guessing it is an error.
Thanks for noticing that – it’s fixed now!
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my secret recipie of icing Not rated yet
: 2 boxes of cream Cheese:6 mashed oreo's ( of any desire):2 tbsp vanilla:2 tbsp of sugar
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Gingerbread Cake | An Old Fashioned Recipe
Sometimes the best recipes are the ones that have been around for a while…as is the case with this gingerbread cake. During one of my conversations with my dad, he told me about a gingerbread cake that his mother made. I, of course, went looking for the recipe, but could find nothing. I was sure it would be somewhere in my grandmother’s recipe book, but I had no luck finding it. I wasn’t ready to give up though, so I searched my vintage cookbooks. I found exactly what I wanted in The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, copyright 1942.
*Originally published in 2016, this post has been updated with a printable recipe card, better images, and more information. Enjoy!
There are so many things I like about this recipe. It’s easy, uses basic pantry ingredients, bakes in half an hour, has no frosting, and tastes amazing. So that’s five good reasons to give it a try!