Deliciously Spiced: Pre-1940’s Gingerbread Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen! Today, I’m excited to share with you my pre-1940’s gingerbread recipe. This classic recipe has been passed down from generation to generation, and it’s been a staple in my family for as long as I can remember.

Gingerbread has been enjoyed since 2400 BC, and it’s no wonder why it has stood the test of time. The combination of warm spices and molasses creates a comforting aroma that fills your home and your heart. This recipe is easy to make and requires only a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

As a chef, I’m always looking for ways to honor tradition while also adding my own unique twist to a recipe. That’s why I love this pre-1940’s version of gingerbread. It’s a throwback to a simpler time, and the flavor is unmatched. So, grab your apron and let’s get baking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Gingerbread (Pre-1940's)
Gingerbread (Pre-1940’s)

If you’re looking for a classic and comforting dessert, this pre-1940’s gingerbread recipe is the perfect choice. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also packed with rich and warm spices like ginger and molasses that will fill your house with a delicious aroma.

One of the things that make this recipe so special is its history. Gingerbread has been enjoyed for centuries, with the first known recipe dating back to 2400 BC in Greece. This recipe included in this article is a wartime edition that was passed down through generations, making it a true piece of culinary history.

But it’s not just the history that makes this gingerbread recipe so special. The combination of sweet molasses and spicy ginger creates a unique and unforgettable flavor that will have you reaching for a second (or third) slice. And unlike some gingerbread recipes, this one is not too sweet, allowing the rich and complex flavors of the spices to shine through.

This gingerbread is also incredibly versatile. You can serve it warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or you can let it cool and cut it into squares for a quick and easy snack. And if you’re feeling creative, you can even use it to make a gingerbread house or gingerbread men.

Overall, this pre-1940’s gingerbread recipe is a timeless classic that is sure to become a favorite in your household. So why not give it a try and taste a piece of culinary history for yourself?

Ingredient List

“A slice of nostalgia: Enjoy a bite of history with this pre-1940’s gingerbread recipe.”

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this delicious pre-1940’s gingerbread recipe:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of molasses
  • 1 cup of butter, unsalted
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk

Note: For this recipe, I highly recommend using unsalted butter to control the saltiness of the gingerbread. Also, make sure to use fresh baking soda to ensure that the gingerbread will rise perfectly.

If you don’t have molasses, you can substitute it with dark corn syrup or honey. Keep in mind that this substitution will change the flavor and texture of the gingerbread slightly.

Make sure to have all the ingredients at room temperature before starting the recipe. This will ensure that the ingredients mix together evenly and smoothly.

The Recipe How-To

Now, let’s get to the fun part – making the gingerbread! Follow these step-by-step instructions to create a delicious pre-1940’s gingerbread.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and milk and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

This recipe can also be used to make gingerbread biscuits or gingerbread men. Simply roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to shape the dough into desired shapes.

Enjoy your delicious pre-1940’s gingerbread!

Substitutions and Variations

There are plenty of ways to experiment with this classic pre-1940’s gingerbread recipe. Here are some substitutions and variations that will give your gingerbread a unique twist:

– Flour: If you want a gluten-free option, you can use almond flour, coconut flour, or gluten-free baking mix instead of all-purpose flour. However, keep in mind that the texture and flavor may be slightly different.

– Molasses: If you don’t have molasses on hand, you can replace it with honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar. Each of these substitutions will give your gingerbread a slightly different flavor profile.

– Milk: You can use any type of milk you prefer, including almond, soy, or oat milk, for a dairy-free option.

– Spices: While ginger is the star spice of this recipe, you can play around with other warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to give your gingerbread a unique flavor.

– Shape and size: This recipe can be used to make gingerbread men, gingerbread biscuits, or even a gingerbread house. You can also adjust the size of your gingerbread depending on your preference.

By experimenting with these substitutions and variations, you can create a gingerbread that is tailored to your tastes and preferences. So, don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with this recipe!

Serving and Pairing

This pre-1940’s gingerbread recipe is a classic that is perfect for any occasion. It’s a versatile recipe that can be served in many different ways, and pairs well with a variety of foods and drinks.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy this gingerbread is to serve it warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The warm gingerbread and cold cream contrast beautifully, and the flavors complement each other perfectly.

Another great way to serve this gingerbread is to cut it into small squares and serve it as part of a dessert platter. Add some fresh fruit, chocolate truffles, and other sweet treats for a beautiful and delicious display.

If you’re looking for something a little more savory, try serving this gingerbread with a cheese platter. The spicy gingerbread pairs well with a variety of different cheeses, and the combination makes for an unexpected and delicious appetizer.

For drinks, I recommend serving this gingerbread with a hot cup of tea or coffee, or a cold glass of milk. The warm spices in the gingerbread are the perfect complement to a hot drink, while the sweetness pairs well with a cold glass of milk.

Overall, this pre-1940’s gingerbread recipe is a classic that can be served in many different ways. Whether you’re looking for a sweet dessert, a savory appetizer, or a delicious snack, this gingerbread is sure to hit the spot.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

One of the best things about this pre-1940’s gingerbread recipe is how well it keeps. You can easily make it ahead of time and store it for later use. Once baked, the gingerbread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. This makes it a great recipe to have on hand for unexpected guests or a quick snack.

If you want to store the gingerbread for longer, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer for up to three months. When you’re ready to serve it, simply thaw it at room temperature for a few hours.

To reheat the gingerbread, you can either warm it up in the oven or microwave. To warm it up in the oven, wrap the gingerbread in aluminum foil and bake it at 350°F for 10-15 minutes. To warm it up in the microwave, wrap the gingerbread in a damp paper towel and microwave it for 10-20 seconds.

If you’re planning on making a gingerbread house, you can use this recipe to make the gingerbread dough ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to a week. This will give you plenty of time to assemble and decorate your gingerbread house without having to worry about making the dough from scratch.

Overall, this pre-1940’s gingerbread recipe is a great option if you’re looking for a recipe that can be made ahead of time and stored for later use. It’s versatile, easy to make, and perfect for any occasion.

Tips for Perfect Results

When it comes to baking gingerbread, there are some tips and tricks that can help you achieve perfect results. Here are some of my favorite tips for making the best pre-1940’s gingerbread.

Firstly, make sure to sift the flour, baking soda, and ginger together before adding them to the batter. This will help to evenly distribute the dry ingredients and prevent lumps in the batter.

Secondly, use room temperature butter when making your gingerbread. This will allow the butter to cream more easily with the sugar, resulting in a lighter and fluffier batter.

Thirdly, don’t overmix the batter. Once the dry ingredients have been added, mix until just combined. Overmixing can result in a tough and dense gingerbread.

Fourthly, let the gingerbread cool completely before slicing or decorating. This will prevent the gingerbread from crumbling or falling apart.

Fifthly, if you’re making gingerbread cookies, roll out the dough to a consistent thickness. This will ensure that all the cookies bake evenly.

Lastly, if you want to add a little extra flair to your gingerbread, try adding a lemon cream cheese frosting. The tangy cream cheese pairs perfectly with the spicy gingerbread, creating a flavor combination that is sure to impress.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create delicious and perfectly spiced pre-1940’s gingerbread every time.


Now that you know how to make this delicious gingerbread pre-1940 recipe, it’s time to answer some frequently asked questions to help ensure your success in the kitchen. Below are answers to some of the most common questions about this recipe and gingerbread baking in general. So, let’s dive in!

How was gingerbread made originally?

Back in the old days, gingerbread was made with a mix of ground almonds, stale breadcrumbs, rosewater, sugar and, of course, ginger. The paste was then pressed into molds made of wood. This was a popular recipe in Europe during those times.

What were the ingredients in the original gingerbread?

Initially, the combination of rye flour and honey was mixed with spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and occasionally black pepper. However, as time passed, the recipes evolved and other ingredients such as wheat flour, eggs, butter, golden syrup, maple syrup, dried fruit, nuts, and various flavorings and leavening agents were incorporated into the mix.

What are the three types of gingerbread?

Today, we’ll be discussing three types of gingerbread: Brown Gingerbread, Wafer Gingerbread, and Honey Gingerbread. Brown Gingerbread is a type of gingerbread dough that is made with honey or syrup and is baked without using a wafer base. On the other hand, Wafer Gingerbread is made using a wafer base while Honey Gingerbread features honey as a key ingredient. Let’s dive into the recipe for Brown Gingerbread.

Where did the first known recipe for gingerbread come from in 2400 BC?

Gingerbread has been enjoyed for thousands of years across the world. Its origins can be traced back to Greece in 2400 BC, and Chinese recipes were developed in the 10th century. By the late Middle Ages, Europeans had their own variation of gingerbread. The love for this delicious treat has stood the test of time.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this pre-1940’s gingerbread recipe is a perfect addition to your recipe collection. It is a dessert that has stood the test of time and has been enjoyed for thousands of years. Gingerbread’s sweet and spicy flavor profile makes it a versatile treat that can be served as a snack, dessert, or even as a breakfast pastry.

The recipe is easy to follow, and the ingredients are readily available in most grocery stores. With a little bit of effort, you can have a batch of delicious gingerbread cookies, cakes, or biscuits that will leave your taste buds craving for more.

What makes this gingerbread recipe special is its historical significance. It is the first known recipe for gingerbread, and it has been passed down from generation to generation. The recipe included in this article is one that was used by our grandmas during the wartime edition, which makes it even more valuable.

In summary, whether you are a fan of retro 1940s food or just a lover of good food, this gingerbread recipe is worth trying. It is a classic dessert that will take you back in time and bring back memories of the good old days. So, go ahead and give it a try, and let us know how it turns out in the comments section below.

Gingerbread (Pre-1940’s) Recipe

This Pre-1940’s recipe included in my “Grandma’s Wartime Edition Cookbook”

  • 1 cup milk (sour)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Mix soda with sour milk and add to molasses.
  2. Sift together flour, ginger and salt.
  3. Combine the two mixtures.
  4. Add butter.
  5. Bake in greased pan in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
< 60 Mins, Beginner Cook, Breads, Easy, For Large Groups, Healthy

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