Although they were all delicious, my favorite was New York Gingerbread, and Niel was kind enough to share the recipes with everyone. So, when it came time to bake for a friend's housewarming gift (a very charming idea my husband came up with - salt, a broom, and bread), I immediately wanted to try my hand at the New York Gingerbread.
The original recipe, which was published in the Dewey Cookbook in 1899, reads:
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoonfuls ginger
1/2 pint milk, half sweet, half sour
3/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoonful salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoonful soda
Beat well together the sugar, butter, eggs, and salt. Add the balance of the ingredients and bake.
New York Gingerbread (1899)
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter (three sticks)
5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1 cup buttermilk OR 1 tablespoon lemon juice topped off by milk to make 1 cup sour milk
Preheat your oven to 350 F and lightly grease two standard loaf pans.
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth, then beat in eggs. Add flour, salt, ginger, and baking soda and start to stir into the butter mixture. Then add the sweet milk and stir a little more, then the sour milk or buttermilk. Work quickly to stir everything together - the batter will be quite thick. Spoon into each loaf pan until the batter looks equal, then place in the hot oven and bake approximately 65 minutes or until the loaves are cooked through. Let cool in the pans for a few minutes, then tip out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or room temperature plain or with with whipped cream.
Final verdict? I would totally make this again. It's addictively subtle - just spicy and sweet enough that you want to keep eating it. The crust is a bit crunchy right now, which I like, but as it sits (I'm storing it in a gallon ziplock bag), the crust will get tender and a bit sticky. Much like banana bread, which this strongly resembles.
Niel says he bakes this in loaf pans (like I did) and does two things: either he double bakes it to make rusks, or he makes a trifle with custard and (get this) LEMON CURD. He's such a genius, and I'm so grateful he shared this recipe! Also grateful I was able to make a pretty good version of my own.
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