Fill your house with gingerbread spices

Go beyond cookies and use this comforting blend of spices to add flavor to many of your holiday foods

Gingerbread is one of the most iconic holiday treats.

After all, for many people it is a tradition to create gingerbread houses, decorate gingerbread men and sample gingerbread cookies.

What would the Nutcracker Suite be without Mother Ginger?

And a festive holiday gingerbread latte is sure to start the day off right.

Gingerbread is perhaps so popular because of the warm feeling created by the toasty spices used in the dough.

If you’re not up to making an entire gingerbread house, or even a full batch of gingerbread cookies, you can add that warm feeling to other foods during the holidays.

You can make a simple gingerbread spice mix and add it to your favorite baked goods, beverages and even your breakfast muffins, pancakes and waffles.

While gingerbread spices are similar to those used in pumpkin spice, there are a few differences. While pumpkin spice is heavy on cinnamon, gingerbread spice is a more balanced mix with cinnamon, allspice and, of course, ginger.

To make a simple gingerbread spice mix, combine two tablespoons ground allspice, two tablespoons ground cinnamon, two tablespoons ground ginger, one tablespoon ground cloves, one tablespoon ground nutmeg and a pinch of ground black pepper.

Store the mix in an airtight container and use it for any holiday baking that may be on your radar, from cakes and cookies to muffins and pancakes.

Don’t forget to add it to your holiday beverages as well. Just sprinkle some on eggnog, coffee or hot chocolate and you’re set.

There are other ways to enjoy the taste of gingerbread. You can make gingerbread flavored breads, doughnuts, scones and desserts such as cheesecakes and crumbles.

Gingerbread spices combine well with fall fruits such as apples and pears and are delicious in crumbles and crisps.

Following are a few recipes for these gingerbread treats from


Salted Gingerbread Pots de Creme

1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Dash of nutmeg

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

4 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons bourbon

For toppings:

Whipped cream

Coarse sea salt

Crushed gingerbread men cookies


In a small saucepan, bring cream, sugar, salt and spices to a slow simmer over medium heat.

In a medium saucepan, combine turbinado sugar with six tablespoons water. Bring to a boil over medium heat until sugar melts and solution turns brown, about five minutes. Remove from heat, then carefully add hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. The mixture will bubble.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, vanilla extract and bourbon. Gradually add the hot cream mixture while constantly mixing.

Pour custard into the six four-ounce ramekins or four six-ounce Mason jars. Place on a large baking pan, then pour hot water into the baking pan until it’s about halfway up the sides of the ramekins or jars.

Bake in a 300-degree oven about 40 minutes, until custard is set around the edges but still jiggly in the center.

Remove from water bath and move ramekins or jars to a cooling rack. Cool completely, then chill at least an hour or two.


Gingerbread Scones

2 cups flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup cold butter cubed

1/3 cup molasses

1/4 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons ginger paste

1 egg, separated

Turbinado sugar

Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, crystallized ginger, ground ginger, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles large crumbs.

In a small bowl, mix the molasses, milk, ginger paste and egg yolk.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry.

Turn the mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and pat into a disc about an inch or so thick. Cut into eight wedges and separate. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg white and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.


Baked Gingerbread Mini Doughnuts

For doughnuts:

1 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

Pinch allspice

Pinch cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup applesauce

1 tablespoon milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

For glaze:

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup powdered sugar


To make doughnuts, mix the dry ingredients, then stir in the moist ingredients. Pour batter into a gallon-sized plastic bag and cut the corner off. Pipe batter into a greased mini-doughnut pan, filling each space about half full. Bake in a 350-degree oven for seven to eight minutes. Remove from oven and take each doughnut out of the pan.

For the glaze, melt butter with brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil two minutes. Add maple syrup and one tablespoon milk and bring back to a boil. Add powdered sugar, using the last tablespoon of milk to help thin out the frosting if needed. Keep frosting over low heat and dunk each doughnut into the frosting. Frosting should set almost immediately.


Chocolate Gingerbread Babka

4 cups flour

Vanilla bean seeds

4 teaspoons ground ginger

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

4 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 teaspoons salt

4 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup milk, room temperature

2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water for egg wash

For filling:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 ounces chocolate gingerbread bar

2 tablespoons crushed gingerbread

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, vanilla bean seeds, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, sugar, yeast and salt. Mix in eggs until combined.

Mix together milk and vanilla extract, then add to the dough. Mix until it just starts to come together. Beat on low and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, making sure each tablespoon is incorporated before adding the next.

Bring speed up to medium and beat eight minutes.

Lightly grease a bowl and place dough inside. Coat plastic wrap with cooking spray and place over the bowl. Allow dough to rise in a warm, dry area for about two hours or in the refrigerator overnight.

Combine filling ingredients in a small saucepan and heat on low, stirring constantly until the mixture is melted and fully incorporated. Set aside to cool slightly.

Place dough on a floured surface and roll out into a long rectangle. Spread filling over the dough, then roll the dough lengthwise. Cut dough in half, leaving a small bit attached at the top. Turn cut ends until they face up, twist the two pieces together, then bring the ends together to form a wreath. Carefully place on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until almost doubled in size.

Uncover dough. Combine egg and water to create egg wash. Brush dough with wash, then bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.


Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake

1 long loaf French bread, sliced about 3/4-inch thick

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 large eggs

1/2 cup milk (3/4 cup if the bread is old or very crusty or hard)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup light, medium, or dark molasses

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cloves

Pinch salt

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting, optional

Ginger molasses maple syrup or regular maple syrup


Line an 8-by-9-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray. Place bread slices in three rows of about eight slices each, slightly overlapping them. Set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Allow the butter to cool a little bit, then add eggs, milk, maple syrup, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and salt, if desired. Whisk to combine ingredients, then pour mixture over bread, gently separating the slices so mixture coats all the bread. Cover pan with foil and refrigerate at least four to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, warm oven to 350 degrees and remove pan from refrigerator. Spoon any pooled liquid over the top of the bread, especially on any white patches or dry looking places.

Bake for about 20 to 35 minutes. If bread is crisping or browning more than desired, tent with foil.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, and serve with butter and syrup or your favorite toppings. French toast is best fresh, but extra will keep in an airtight container for four days in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in the microwave before serving.



Gingerbread Pear Crumble With Boozy Whipped Cream

For topping:

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

2 cups flour

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For filling:

4 pounds ripe pears such as Bartlett or Anjou

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

For whipped cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons dark rum


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine brown sugar, flour, butter, oats, hazelnuts, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking powder to make topping. Mix on low speed until medium-size clumps start to form. Set aside.

Halve the pears and use a melon baller or small spoon to remove the seeds and core. Dice pears into small cubes and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add cranberries, sugar, salt, cornstarch and lemon zest and juice. Toss well to coat the fruit evenly.

Transfer filling to a deep Pyrex dish. Dot the surface with the cubed butter. Evenly sprinkle the crumb topping over the fruit. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is well-browned and the juices are bubbling up.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine cream, powdered sugar and rum. Whip on medium-low speed until soft peaks form.

Serve crumble warm or cold with rum whipped cream on the side.

Leftover whipped cream can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for two days. Re-whip by hand before using.


No-Bake Mini Mason Jar Spiced Cheesecakes

12 ounces gingersnap cookies

16 ounce cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup red currant jelly

1-1/2 cups whipped cream


In the bowl of a food processor, pulse cookies until they are fine crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl and wipe out the food processor.

Place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and heavy cream in the bowl of the food processor and process until smooth and combined.

Arrange eight four-ounce Mason jars or small serving cups on a baking sheet. Place three tablespoons gingersnap crumbs in each jar, then divide cheesecake mixture evenly among the jars. Chill 30 to 35 minutes, until set.

Top each cheesecake with two tablespoons jelly, a dollop of whipped cream and additional gingersnap crumbs. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap for as long as two days.


Gingerbread Pancakes

2 cups flour

1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Pinch of allspice

1-1/2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup molasses

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar, for serving, optional

Whipped cream, for serving optional


In a large bowl, whisk flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and allspice.

In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk with molasses, egg and vanilla extract. Add the buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and whisk until well combined, being careful not to overmix.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. When hot, lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray or grease it with a small amount of butter.

Working in batches, pour about 1/2 cup batter onto the hot griddle. Cook about three minutes, until bubbles begin to appear on the surface of the pancakes and the undersides are golden brown, then flip and cook two more minutes, until golden. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve immediately, garnished with confectioners’ sugar and whipped cream, if desired.


Gingerbread Loaf With Cream Cheese Frosting

For cake:

1-1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs

For frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup sour cream

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pinch kosher salt

Candied ginger, to garnish


In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and cloves. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and both sugars about three minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.

Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet, mixing just until the batter is homogeneous with no streaks of flour. Pour batter into a lightly greased nine-by-five inch loaf pan that’s lined with parchment paper. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in a 350-degree oven 50 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with very few crumbs. Cool about 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix cream cheese and butter at medium speed one minute, until combined and creamy. Add sour cream and mix one minute more.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add confectioners’ sugar, then increase the speed to medium and mix one minute, until creamy. Mix in vanilla extract and salt.

When the cake is completely cool, frost using an offset spatula or spoon to create swoops and swirls in the frosting. Garnish with candied ginger as desired.

The cake is best eaten the day it’s made, but will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for as long as three days.






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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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