Gingerbread & Silent Night


Tomorrow starts Christmas week and I am going to take some much-needed time away from music, touring, websites and the rest to take a deep breath, relax and reflect on the 12 months that have just flown by. I love this time of year, but it’s easy to lose the peace in the midst of the hustle.
Before I start wrapping presents and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, as my holiday gift to you, I present my grandmother Adele (Mohr) Klein’s recipe for Gingerbread – I promise you this stuff is incredible and will fill your house with the very essence of Christmas. I just pulled these two out of the oven an hour ago:

Hot Water Gingerbread

Every year Gram reminded me that we were related, through her side of the family, to Joseph Mohr, who wrote “Silent Night”. The story goes that the organ in the church broke down on Christmas Eve, and forced Mohr and Franz Gruber, the organist, to perform this carol for the first time with only a guitar for accompaniment. Whether or not it’s true, I love that story. And I like to think I come by my songwriting ability partly because of Joseph. When it came time to make the Northern Lights album, there wasn’t any question that “Silent Night” would be on the track list. You can download my version of it here, for free.

Merry Christmas, and a very happy New Year.


Hot Water Gingerbread

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup blackstrap molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder

Beat all ingredients together with electric beater. Bake @ 350° in two square pans or one oblong pan for 45 minutes or until knife comes clean.


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  1. OMG, this is amazing! It’s so easy and makes a great amount. I’m bringing it to work tomorrow for my colleagues and know I’ll be the hit of the office. Thanks Gretchen.

  2. Thank you for sharing this family recipe! I love that story and I too think writing beautiful songs is in your DNA. I hope you guys have a Merry Christmas!

  3. Oh that’s so wonderful! My siblings and I just rediscovered our gingerbread cake recipe from our childhood this past summer. Ours looks much darker than yours though. I’ll have to check the two recipes and see what might make that difference. Will definitely try yours out. Thanks so much!

  4. Thank you Gretchen, looking forward to making it this week.
    Merry Christmas to you and Barry, hope to see you in Gateshead in 2017? xx

  5. Made it today, a bit belated for Christmas but it came out very good.
    I have made a gluten free version of this too and it works well.
    Thanks again.

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