The soft cake like gingerbread she offered was popular in those days, it is recorded to have been a favorite of the writer Louisa May Alcott and Emily Dickinson, and yet it seems to have made its way into extinction. Its hard biscuit cousin being the "gingerbread" of today! It is a pity, because, after the soft yielding squares that were cooling into my kitchen became too much of a temptation, I discovered that the ancestor of the hard brittle gingerbread man is actually a superior sensation of taste and texture.
I wanted to recreate this softer cake like biscuit, and so set about bastardising a few recipes until I was happy. I found the rigmarole of online recipes for "Lafayette Gingerbread" ridiculous and unnecessary so using our dear Hannah Glasses recipe as a base I came up with my own. Here is a simple recipe for 19th century gingerbread that can be whipped up in a minute, even if a processor.
3.5 cups (1 lb) of flour (I used my measuring cups for this recipe instead of the scales)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
A good pinch of white pepper
6 oz of soft butter
6 oz of golden caster sugar
1 cup golden syrup or treacle
2/3 tbsp cream
Mix everything together until you have a firm dough, like a shortbread. Fashion into a square, as deep as a brownie tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is browning at the edges.
Leave to cool, cut into brownie size squares.