The turkey was good, the Wild Rice Pilaf was divine, the Winter Salad was amazing, and the beer tasting (I was told — I did not myself taste) was educational. My contribution to the Thanksgiving feast was gingerbread and humble mashed potatoes. I have no recipe for the potatoes — you boil them, mash them, then add half and half, salt, sour cream, and butter until they taste right (this year they had whole milk instead of half and half, which could not be had for love ‘nor money in my neck of the woods). Here’s the gingerbread recipe:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
2 rounded teaspoons ground ginger
1 flattened teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment.
Cream sugar and butter (do yourself a favor — use a mixer if you have one), add molasses a bit at a time. Combine and sift dry ingredients, combine sugar mixture and dry mixture, stir just until combined. Add boiling water and stir. Pour into pan, and bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
As my husband can attest, I never, ever, ever make a recipe the same way twice. A recipe is a general framework within which to work — it’s a design sketch, not a blueprint.
This year, I added some cloves and star anise to the gingerbread, used 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white (this was due to running out of brown sugar, not to any grand plan), and added some extra molasses. In previous years, I’ve added crystalized ginger (which was very good — I would have done this again had I planned ahead) and extra cinnamon. I really wanted to add a bit of cayenne pepper to give the gingerbread a little oomph, but, uncertain of the results, I restrained myself. It’s not a unique idea — see here and here. Maybe next year.