Living History at Home: Making GingerbreadMay 15, 2020
Do you find yourself baking a lot more than usual? Don't worry, you're not alone. Take a break from Googling how to feed your sourdough starter, and trust us, there's always time to make another batch of cinnamon rolls. Test out your 18th-century baking skills with gingerbread!
Tyler Putman, the Museum's Gallery Interpretation Manager, demonstrates how to make an 18th-century gingerbread recipe, adapted from Hannah Glasse’s 1774 The Art of Cookery, in our latest Living History at Home cooking demonstration.
Adapted from Hannah Glasse’s 1774 The Art of Cookery
- ¾ cup molasses
- ¼ cup cream
- 4 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Directions: Preheat oven to 250°. In a small pot over low heat, combine molasses and cream, stirring occasionally, until warm and mixed. Cut butter into small pieces and in a large bowl mix flour, sugar, and butter until fine-grained and saturated. Add ginger and nutmeg and mix. Add warmed molasses and cream mixture. Stir and mix (by hand or with a beater or mixer) to thoroughly combine. Take portions of the dough (which will still be somewhat crumbly) and roll out into thin sheets (1/4-1/2”thick). Cut round cookies or roll dough into small balls, repeating with new dough until used up. Place cookies on baking sheets and bake in a low oven (250°-300°) for an hour or more, depending on your preference for chewy or crunchy cookies.
You can also test out a recipe for gingersnaps from American Cookie: The Snaps, Drops, Jumbles, Tea Cakes, Bars & Brownies That We Have Loved For Generations by Anne Byrn, which was featured in the Museum's Read the Revolution series.
Interested in more living history? Check out our Living History at Home cooking demos that include making hard bread and roasting a pumpkin as well as our Artisan Field Trip series, including interviews with historic costume maker Jana Violante, carpenter Brian McDonald, shoemaker Shaun Pekar, and bookbinder Paul McClintock.