Gingerbread for Good Children
Today is Saint Nicholas Day. Last year I wrote about some of the traditions that surround Saint Nicholas and Krampus. If that’s what you’re looking for you can read my post Gruß Vom Krampus. This Saint Nicholas Day I’d like to share something that’s become a tradition in my household: Gingerbread. Every year on the 5th of December we set out some minor decorations for Saint Nicholas Day. Most of the house remains bare, with perhaps the exception of the Advent wreath on the front table, but we begin to set up our Crèche even though the Baby will not be seen until Christmas eve, and the shepherds are wandering about on the other end of the piano things are being prepared. We also read stories and say a special Evening Prayer. We listen to Intonent Hodie and St Nocolaes Godes Drud and I bake gingerbread.
I started baking gingerbread while I was still living with my parents some 30 years ago. I use and have adapted one of the most simple recipes that was ever written:
The thing about this recipe is that a child could do it, and that’s probably because it comes from a child’s cook book: Kitchen Fun A Cook Book for Children by Louise Price Bell from 1932. It was my mother’s first cook book, and I love looking through it and seeing notes like make this on October 9th (my mother’s birthday). The thing about it being so simple is that it can be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled without ruining the cake; (It really is more a cake than what many people think of as gingerbread.); the measurements can be a bit off; and you can play with the ingredients. This year I substituted half of the molasses with maple syrup. I used a combination of dark brown sugar and regular granulated sugar. I also used fresh ginger and added a bit of cinnamon, and a pinch of clove.
This morning I took a bunch of mini muffins off with me as I went to work, and shared them with people on the way wishing them a happy Saint Nicholas Day. I was even brave enough to share them with the pastry chef at my local café. He said that he was going to add them to the offerings of muffins for the holidays, and call them Erich’s Fairy Gingerbread. I’m honored?
Happy Saint Nicholas Day!