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Gingerbread

4 oz. (1 stick) sweet butter
1/2 c. light or dark brown sugar
1/2 c. molasses, cane syrup or black treacle
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 to 3 tbsp. ground ginger, or to taste
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or lemon brandy
1/2 c. buttermilk (or milk w/a little yogurt beaten in)

Cream butter and brown sugar. Beat until fluffy and add molasses.
Beat in eggs. Add dry ingredients, then vanilla and buttermilk.
Turn into a buttered cake pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree
oven for between 20 and 30 minutes. (Check after 20.)

This is just one of many recipes that I love. Like Laurie Colwin,
I am a mad sucker for English cookbooks and I now have more
gingerbread recipes than I could possibly make in one lifetime.
But this recipe is a great "all-purpose" gingerbread. It's also
really good with chocolate icing as long as you use a fairly
bittersweet recipe.

Note: I never use "real" molasses because I find the taste too
bitter. Based on the advice in Home Cooking, I started mail-ordering
cane syrup from the C.S. Steen Syrup Mill in Abbeville, LA. I have
also used black treacle in a pinch, and the resulting cake was very
good.

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