George Washington Mother's Gingerbread

Yield:
Ingredients:
 
1 cup all-purpose flour sifted
2 tbl all-purpose flour sifted
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter 2 tbs which is vegetable shortening
1/2 cup coffee hot, strong, boiling
1/3 cup dark brown sugar firmly packed
1/2 cup molasses dark
1 x egg well beaten
1/3 cup mincemeat OPTIONAL
    or candied orange peel
Method:
This is a wonderful recipe.

Gingerbread goes well back to middle ages and earlier. Ladies would bestow favours of gingerbread, some ornately tooled to look like velvet or leather boxes, to knights during tournaments. They were decorated with cloves, gold and silver leaf, and were sometimes even in the shape of religious icons. Gingerbread was sold at faires and gatherings like we sell our hotdogs and popcorn of today. In the netherlands there were mansized gingerbread molds. Gingerbreads can be traced to German, Italian, Swiss and Austrian cuisine. These gingerbreads of old were highly decorated, gilded and painted with colored sugars.

Gingerbread molds are prized by antique collectors.

In colonial american days, the molds were of wood and recipes were considered signature and guarded with pride. It was a custom to add mincemeat or candied fruits to the ginerbread as well.

The hot coffee added to this recipe is what forms the moist gooey glaze which has a hint of a slight crackle to it, as you bite into it. Its heaven when warm. The recipe is attributed to George Washington's Mother.

It has been referenced in two old books in my keeping, and also featured by Woman's Day. I am sure this recipe can be traced back to England and is dated in the early 1600's. I am positive it is of british decent. It has been adapted to modern measurements.

I DON'T add the mincemeat or candied fruit. [Katie]

Sift dry ingredients together. Add butter/shortening to boiling coffee and stir until dissolved. Add sugar and molasses to same mixture. Combine with dry ingredients; add beated egg and continue to beat until batter is smooth. (Fold in mincemeat if using.) Butter and lightly flour 9 inch square pan or small loaf pan. Pour in batter and bake in preheated 350F oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Cut and serve warm or with Lemon Sauce or Whipped Cream.