Grammy’s Gingerbread

…and it’s Fight Back Friday!

When I was about 25 years old my Grammy gave me a gift. It wasn’t brand spanking new or anything. In fact, it was pretty old and sort of falling apart and definitely tattered. It was her high school Home Economics cookbook. She was born in 1912, so I’m trying to figure out when exactly she would have gotten this – maybe the late 1920’s or early 1930’s? It’s entitled “The New American Cook Book” – and unfortunately it doesn’t have ANY copyright or publisher information. Bummer.

Now – if the truth be told, Grammy was not the greatest cook. Much like my Mom, she had a few things she did remarkably well – and other stuff – not so much!

Grammy definitely was a frontrunner on the whole Health Food movement. The stuff she’d eat! And then make us try to eat! EGAD! One day it would be peanut butter loaded with all sorts of herbs and wheat germ. The next she’d make the most amazing bar cookies with butterscotch, chocolate, and peanut butter – totally decadent! I think she WANTED to be good, but sometimes the love for the decadent won over more often than she liked! But really, the thing she was striving for was food that was good for you and tasted good, too. Aren’t we all? If that isn’t at the heart of being a Food Renegade, I don’t know what is!

One thing that I will always remember fondly is the fact that she and I had a somewhat secret love of gingerbread. I don’t think it was really supposed to be any sort of big dark secret – it’s just there weren’t any others around who gave a rip.

One day she said, “Let’s make Gingerbread.” Which might sound pretty normal for a Grammy to say. But my Grammy believed in doing stuff herself – so much so that my Mom knew how to do NOTHING in the kitchen by the time she got married! So that invitation to bake with Grammy was a big deal! Out came her high school Home Economics cookbook, and we made a truly wonderful batch of gingerbread. I can still remember the smell, her kitchen in Burbank – before the remodel, and the smile on her face as we took the first bites. Gosh I miss my Grammy.

So when I was 25 and Grammy gave me said cookbook, I was pretty moved. She’d been using that thing for a lot of decades! I still consider it a treasure, and guard it carefully!

Grammy would have been 97 this month. I’m sharing our Gingerbread recipe in her honor. She’d have really loved it if you enjoyed it as well!

Grammy’s Gingerbread

2 cups All-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
2 teaspoons Ginger
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup Butter
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1 large Egg, well beaten
2/3 cup Molasses
3/4 cup Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350° F.

  1. Sift flour once, measure. Add baking powder, soda, spices, and salt and sift together three times.
  2. Cream butter thoroughly, adding sugar gradually, continuing to cream until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and molasses to creamed mixture.
  4. Add flour and buttermilk alternately to the creamed mixture. Beat after each addition until smooth.
  5. Pour into a greased pan or a ring mold.
  6. Bake in a moderate oven (350° F) for 1 1/4 hours.


This recipe was one my Grammy liked to make – and I love to eat! It has lovely flavor and is nice and moist. It comes from “The New American Cook Book” which unfortunately has no copyright information in it. Grammy was given it when she was in high school so I’m guessing it’s from the late 1920’s or early 1930’s. It’s a BIG book, and has seen quite a few miles – but there are some real gems therein!

2 thoughts on “Grammy’s Gingerbread

  1. What a wonderful story about your Grammy! I have great memories of time spent in both of my grandma’s kitchens. I don’t have any books, but I have a few recipies that I carefully recorded while they dictated. 🙂

    My toddler is WAY into “The Gingerbread Man” book right now, so we may have to whip one up with your recipe. Thanks!

  2. Hey Jen, thanks so much for stopping by! Aren’t Grandmother’s amazing and wonderful? I sure miss mine. I actually have a bin somewhere in storage that has a whole bunch of my great-grandmother’s recipies (we refer to her as GG), she was a professional cook, and I’ve given myself the goal of getting my hands on those and preserving them!

    That’s so cool that you were able to save some of your loved ones’ recipes. What a great legacy to hand down to your kids!

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