Best of the Best: Gingerbread and Lemon Sauce

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Cathy Best

Cathy Best

By Cathy Best, Columnist

Thanks to my grandmothers, cool days and bright leaves put me in comfort food mode. There’s something about being in a warm kitchen on a cool evening that makes me happy. It’s no secret I love to cook. Whether it’s comfort food or a new recipe, I’m all about it. I love the planning and execution involved in cooking. Fortunately, I come from good stock (go ahead cooks- call it a pun).

At an early age, both grandmothers allowed me in the kitchen. Under their tutelage, and hands-on approach, I was a willing and eager student. Cooking with them fascinated me; they made it look so easy. In later years, I realized I was witnessing cooking confidence. Each grandmother had her comfort food specialties. One was the baker and pastry chef. The other was always trying some new recipe, she read somewhere, and adding it to her comfort list. I owe my knowledge of the basics, and willingness to be creative with food, to them. I give credit to my mother, who worked outside the home, for turning over the evening meal to my sister and I when we were in high school. She never once indicated a meal could have been better; we thought we could make anything. Like so many things we attempt in life, it’s about confidence. When you’re not told you can’t, you can. Cooking really is that simple, if you’re so inclined to try it. Today I’m sharing my grandmother Gates’ Gingerbread and Lemon Sauce recipe. It taste like love on a plate, total comfort food. I’ve been saving it until the days cooled off; I thought you might need something warm and comfy. It’s a perfect addition to the holiday meal. Enjoy.

Flo’s Gingerbread and Lemon Sauce

Pre-heat oven to 350*

½ cup soft shortening or soft butter (Joy of Cooking melts and cools the butter in their recipe) Flo didn’t.

½ cup sugar

1 egg

¾ cup dark molasses 1-cup sour milk or buttermilk

2 ¼ cups sifted flour

1-teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon salt

1-teaspoon ginger

1-teaspoon cinnamon

Beat together shortening and sugar until well blended. Add egg and mix well. Add molasses and milk and mix well. Sift together remaining dry ingredients and slowly add to liquid as the mixer turns. Mix until blended.

Pour in a greased 81/2 x 13 -inch pan for 40-45 minutes or a 9x9x2-inch pan for 50-60 minutes. Test it with a toothpick at the earlier minutes.

Lemon Sauce

The sauce would be even more divine if one could pluck a fresh Meyer lemon off the pampered backyard tree. I’m just sayin.

1 cup boiling water

1-cup sugar- Use less sugar if you like it tangier.

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4-teaspoon salt

½ cup of fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons of lemon zest

2 tablespoons butter Dash of nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Stir constantly with wire whisk for one minute until sauce is thickened. If too thick add a little boiling water or more lemon juice if you want it even more tangy. Remove from heat.

Serve warm over warm gingerbread. It really is so good; I’d pour it over meatloaf. Please don’t try this at home.

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