Happy weekend, friends. I hereby call the latest meeting of The Society of Disney Carb Lovers into session (insert gavel sound here and please picture me in a black judge’s robe and white powdered wig...I mean, if we’re gonna do it, let’s really go all out, right?).
We are here today to extol the virtues of all of the Disney carbs, as well as recreate a recipe that hails from the founder’s own personal list of favorites. We’ll be channeling Walt Disney himself as we usher in a bit of vintage Disney Magic this weekend in our very own kitchens. We’ll be making the delicious Soft Gingerbread as found in Marcy Carriker Smothers’ amazing book, Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food.
If you’re at all someone who enjoys learning about Walt Disney, Disneyland, food, or Disney history, please, for the love of all things Walt, purchase this book. You’ll savor every vintage picture of Disneyland and the Disney family, all of the insights and background information that Marcy provides, and the vintage recipes that allow us as readers to literally eat like Walt. His favorite recipes, as well as vintage Disneyland recipes, are all found inside. Wonder what the Plaza Inn was before it was the Plaza Inn? Marcy has the details. Curious as to what Walt’s favorite meals were? She’s got that info, too. Want to know the history behind the restaurant located at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank or see pictures of Walt’s Disneyland apartment? All of that and more is included in Eat Like Walt. You’ll love it. I promise.
If you’d like to hear Marcy chat with Michael and Craig about her book, be sure to click here to listen to the episode of Connecting with Walt on which she joined them. It’s so good.
The recipe for Walt’s Soft Gingerbread, dated March 28th, 1934, is just the way we like our Saturday Snacks: completely doable and utilizing ingredients that we might already have in our pantry and/or fridge. And, spoiler alert, in the end, you’ll have warm and delicious carby goodness. And you’ll have something new in common with Walt: you’ll most likely love it as much as he did.
While today's gingerbread is more of a gingerbread cake, and perhaps isn't the first thing you or I might think of when carbs are mentioned, it's a magnificent example of carb-filled deliciousness nonetheless.
I don’t typically keep Crisco (or it’s generic counterpart) in my pantry, but thanks to recently making EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival’s Warm Berry Buckle, I had the generic version in my baking basket. Due to my great love of all molasses cookies, I typically have a jar of molasses at the ready, but if savory yet sweet cookies aren’t your thing, you may want to grab a jar on your next grocery run.
First things first: let’s preheat the oven to 350° and pull a stick of butter out of the fridge. We’ll need both our 1/4 cup of Crisco and the stick of butter at room temperature, so they’ll need to hang out on the counter for just a bit.
I grabbed my measuring cup from the cabinet and dissolved 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 3/4 cup of hot water. A swish or two with my mini whisk was all that it took to get things fully dissolved.
Using a stand mixer (or a large bowl and a hand mixer), cream together the 1/4 cup of room temp butter, the 1/4 cup of Crisco, and the 1/4 cup of sugar for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes, you and I need to scrape down the mixer bowl and add one beaten egg, one cup of molasses, 2 cups of flour, one teaspoon of ground ginger, and one teaspoon of cinnamon.
Marcy gives us the heads up that if we stop and give the measuring cup a spritz of spray oil before measuring the molasses, the molasses will slide right out of the cup. Something that makes our baking lives easier is a wonderful thing, isn't it?
After tossing all of the ingredients in (and affixing my mixing bowl shield lest my counters be bathed in a fresh coating of flour), I started the mixer up on the slowest speed.
We need to make sure to keep blending all of the ingredients until they’re fully combined. You might need to take a quick minute to stop the mixer and scrape the mixing bowl down as well. I also scraped the bottom of the bowl just in case any sneaky unmixed ingredients happened to be hanging out down there.
We can now add the baking soda and water mixture to the batter and beat the whole enchilada until everything’s nice and smooth. The recipe says that this will take a minute to achieve, and I found that to be spot on.
Take a minute and grab an extra pat of butter and grease an 8 x 8-inch pan. Once the inside of the pan is coated, sprinkle in a bit of flour and roll that flour around until the butter grabs the flour and the inside of the pan is fully coated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Pop that pan into the 350° oven and let it bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle come out clean. At 30 minutes, the center was not completely set. I set the timer for an additional 3 minutes, and, at that point, deemed the gingerbread needed 2 more minutes since the middle was still quite liquidy. I finally took the pan out of the oven at 35 minutes total time, and called it good.
Once the gingerbread comes out of the oven, let it cool completely (I sat mine on a rack to cool). Once it has cooled, cut it into 9 pieces, pull out a slice for yourself, and savor every bite.
Friends, I’ve told you in the past about how my mom would make either a simple spice cake or gingerbread cake on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. You know the scene at the end of Ratatouille when Anton Ego tries Remy's ratatouille and is instantly transported back to his childhood? (Forgive me if I’m spoiling it for you, but the movie came out in 2007. Ahem.) Well, that was me tasting this gingerbread cake. I had a feeling that I would love it, and love it I did.
I can completely understand why Walt enjoyed this recipe. It’s warm (in flavor), simple, and, well, pretty perfect.
Moist and soft in the middle with a slight toast on the outside, this soft gingerbread would be the perfect accompaniment to your favorite cup of tea. Or a great addition to a special family breakfast. Or just about anything at anytime. In fact, I'm going to brew a quick cup of tea and enjoy another piece right now. It's a rainy afternoon, so it'll be perfect.
My hubby has suggested cream cheese icing for the gingerbread, so we might have to give that a try next time. Hmmm.
Will you give this vintage Walt Disney favorite a whirl in your own kitchen in the days ahead? If you try it, please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Whatever you’re up to this weekend, may you do it like I imagine Walt did most things: with a twinkle in your eye. Have a great one, friends. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. 🙂
Ready to try Walt's soft gingerbread? The recipe is below:
Soft Gingerbread (March 28, 1934) serves 9
“It’s not a pie, but it is a treat that Walt enjoyed.”
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup Crisco, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg, well beaten
- 1 cup molasses (lightly coat measuring cup with cooking spray so molasses will slip out easily)
- 2 cups flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Set aside.
- Using mixer, cream butter, Crisco, and sugar for 3 minutes.
- Scrape bowl then add egg, molasses, flour, ginger, and cinnamon. Blend until combined.
- Add water mixture to batter. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Grease and flour an 8 x 8-inch pan. Pour in batter.
- Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool and cut into nine even pieces.