|Sunday, 20 November 2016|
by Don Bingham
Americans have always celebrated Christmas with gingerbread!
The original word for ginger came from a Sanskrit word, singabeera, meaning “root shaped like a horn.”
Ginger has been grown in India and southern China for countless centuries. The ancient Chinese used it as a medicine. Over the course of gingerbread’s history, its form varied from location to location. In some places, gingerbread was a soft cake, while in others, it was a crisp, flat cookie; elsewhere, the treat came as a warm, thick square of bread, sometimes served with a pitcher of lemon sauce or cream.
Almost always it was cut into shapes — men, women, stars or animals — and colorfully decorated or dusted with sugar.
In his publication “Christmas at Home – Just Gingerbread,” Conover Swofford reminds us that gingerbread came to North America from all parts of northern Europe with the settlers who brought with them the traditions of their families. American recipes usually called for fewer spices than their European counterparts; they often made use of ingredients that were available only regionally. For instance, maple syrup gingerbreads were made in New England, while in the South, sorghum molasses was used.
We have included some of our favorite recipes! What a great way to enjoy the holidays with GINGERBREAD!
In a liquid-measuring cup, combine cream, molasses and vanilla extract, stirring to blend. Add to flour mixture, stirring until mixture is evenly moist. If dough seems dry, add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time. Working gently, bring mixture together with hands until a dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently 3 to 4 times. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 1-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch fluted round cutter, cut 12 scones from dough. Place scones 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
Garnish with a sprinkle of granulated sugar, if desired. Bake until edges of scones are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.
May be served with lemon curd or peach sabayon sauce.
Century Ginger Snaps
Add sifted ingredients to butter mixture. Stir in water. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place on baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes.
Recognized throughout the state as an accomplished chef, Don Bingham has authored cookbooks, presented television programs and planned elaborate events. Today, he is the administrator for the Governor’s Mansion.