I love gingerbread. However, I’ve never tried making it myself. But December is the perfect time for gingerbread, and besides, my children and I have this new tradition in which we make a 3-to-5 course dinner every Thursday (don’t worry, most likely, it will be some kind of salad for starter, then cooked vegetables, then a soup (from a can), then the main dish and desert.
I decided we would make Dutch pepernotjes, German Plaetzchen and Polish pierniczki (gingerbread cookies). We did the pepernotjes and now was the time for the Polish cookies. I didn’t like the recipe I had in my cookbook but then found something even better: my grandmother’s piernik (gingerbread) recipe. In fact, it’s called, “Royal Gingerbread:”- Piernik królewski.
I’ve never experienced her making it for me. I’ve never tried it. This was my father’s mom, the one who lived in France and we haven’t seen her for over 20 years and now we never will because she died a few years ago. Now I have left of her are a few pages of recipes- for piernik, another for “lazy pierogi” (pierogi leniwe), for lamb stew (which I won’t make because my husband doesn’t eat stew) and pierogi (the recipe is slightly different from mine).
I am writing down this recipe because it’s written by hand and the pages are getting more and more illegible. I’m trying to rescue the few recipes I still can read but I also wanted to share this with you because I wanted you to be able to make it as well. It’s not very hard to make. The interesting part is where you cook the sugar, honey, flour and butter- I don’t know of many recipes where you actually have to cook the batter before baking it. I also change it a little by using cocoa powder instead of coffee (I didn’t have coffee since I don’t drink it. My husband uses pads and I can’t operate the coffee machine, so no coffee for me thank you).
Here it is and marry Christmas!
- 300g flour
- 75g butter
- half a cup honey
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon strong coffee (I used cocoa powder)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- spices: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves
- dried fruit (optional)
- 2 eggs
- Put the sugar, butter, honey and coffee into a saucepan.
- Cook until the sugar and butter dissolve and remove from the heat.
- While the mixture is still hot, add the flour mixed with the baking soda and spices.
- Mix and let cool.
- Add both eggs, mix well.
- Add the dried fruit (I used a handful of raisins and 5 prunes)
- Butter a bread form and transfer the batter into the form.
- Bake for an hour, 180 centigrades.
- As for the spices, you can use a pumpkin spice mix.
- Dried fruit are a great addition to the cake. I used a handful of dark raisins and a few prunes (dried plums). Candied orange peel is also great.