Muster Day Gingerbread(A traditional recipe enjoyed on colonial Muster Day,
as seen in Colonial Courtships by Carla Olson Gade)The following recipe is taken from The Art of Cookery made plain and easy by A Lady, 1747 (Hannah Glasse was discovered to be the authoress in the 19th century).
To make Ginger-Bread. TAKE three quarts of fine flour, two ounces of beaten ginger, a quarter of an ounce of nutmeg, cloves, and mace beat fine, but most of the last; mix all together, three quarters of a pound of fine sugar, two pounds of treacle, set it over the fire, but do not let it boil; three quarters of a pound of butter melted in the treacle, and some candied lemon and orange peel cut fine; mix all these together well. An hour will bake it in a quick oven.
(A modern version for you to try.)
1/3 c Shortening
1/2 c Brown sugar
1/2 c Molasses
2 c Flour (all-purpose)
1 t Baking soda
3/4 t Ground ginger
3/4 t Ground cinnamon
1/4 t Ground cloves
1/4 t Salt
1/2 c Water; boiling
Cream the shortening and sugar until very light. Add the molasses and egg, beating well. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, soda, spices and salt. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the boiling water, beating after each addition. Bake in a greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pan at 350øF for about 50 minutes. Cool a few minutes before removing from the pan, and wrap. This cake mellows and tastes best the next day.Authors note: The treacle mentioned in the first receipt, as recipes were then called, is Molasses. Muster Day Gingerbread, sometimes called Training Day Gingerbread or simply Muster Gingerbread, was usually prepared as a loaf cake. I discovered a variation of this recipe that was rolled out and baked as a cookie. Muster Gingerbread was traditionally washed down with rum after militia training, though I recommend a nice glass of apple cider or fresh milk.