The Ladies' Tea Guild

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas-time is approaching!

image from Grandma's graphics.

I don't know about you, but I always feel like baking good things to eat when the weather turns colder. Gingerbread is one of my favorite things to bake (and eat!), especially the soft gingerbread that is almost like a cake. I like to have lemon sauce and whipped cream with it! It's especially good with a nice hot cup of black tea. Here is a Victorian recipe for gingerbread, that contains oatmeal and candied citrus peel, which is an interesting combination. I may have to make some this year!

Ormskirk Gingerbread
[Peterson's Magazine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; February, 1859]
Two pounds flour, one pound butter, one-half pound sifted oatmeal, three-quarters of a pound of moist sugar, one ounce ginger, the same of citrus and candied orange peel, all mixed together; then add one pound of treacle. The whole should be mixed the day before it is intended to be baked.
-- from The Olden Times – Free Vintage Recipes

On another note, I have been working on a gingerbread-type spice cookie recipe for about a year. Basically, taking an American/German/English gingerbread recipe and making it Italian; or conversely, taking an Italian pannetone or spice cake with dried fruit and orange peel, and making it into a rolled cookie. And then cutting it into a donkey shape and decorating it to look like an Italian donkey with a red and yellow saddle and blue ribbon on one ear! I'm about ready to start putting a usable recipe together and testing it (I have almost all the ingredients that I want), and finding a donkey cookie cutter, so maybe I'll have it done by the end of the year ...

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)