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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 1, 2009
I picked this book up on a whim at the bookstore and am quite glad I did. It goes far beyond the well-known gingerbead cake and gingerbread men with many other ginger-y delights. I have a lot of cookbooks so a determining factor in my purchase was that I hadn't seen the vast majority of these tempting recipes anywhere else.

Be warned that the average person is not likely to have all the ingredients at hand. I consider myself a baker but do not stock whole wheat flour, rice flour or almond flour, nor do I have Chinese five-spice powder, orange flower water, maple extract, candied citron or quince jelly. Make sure you read the recipe far enough in advance to allow time for a trip to the grocery store (and possibly a specialty cooking store such as Sur La Table).

After a brief introduction, the author provides an overview of necessary equipment and recommended ingredients. Most cooks are likely to have all the necessary equipment: stand mixer, baking pans, baking sheets, wire cooling racks and parchment paper or silicone liners. Interesting facts about the history of gingerbread are scattered throughout the book.

The first chapter is on cakes and incudes recipes for Grandmom Lindner's Favorite Gingerbread Cake, Gingerbread Pound Cake, Pumpkin-Gingerbread Cake, Apple Butter-Gingerbread Cake, Spiced Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake, Gingerbread Rum Cake, Ginger Syrup-Soaked Gingerbread Cake, Marbled Gingerbread-Almond Loaf Cake, Robert's Celebration Gingerbread Cake, Carol Lee's Jeweled Gingerbread Fruitcake, Rich Chocolate Gingerbread Cake, and Eliza Leslie's Lafayette Gingerbread.

The next chapter focuses on Cookies and includes recipes for Old-Time Gingersnaps, Five-Spice Gingersnaps, Pressed Spicy Gingerbread Cookies, Moravian Ginger Thins, Cutout Gingerbread Cookies, Golden Gingerbread Cutout Cookies, Shimmering Gingerbread Maple Leaves, Chocolate-Ginger Crinkle Cookies, Giant Chewy Ginger Cookies, Logan's Favorite Soft Molasses Cookies, Gingerbread Shortbread Cookies, Twice-Gingered Shortbread, Gingerbread Madeleines, Braune Lebkuchen, Pfeffernusse, Soft Gingerbread Biscotti, Alexis's "Oh, Wow" Gingerbread Blondies, and Kate's Gingerbread Brownies.

The next chapter is Desserts and seems to include treats that didn't fit in the previous two chapters. Recipes include Burgundian Bread & Butter Pudding, Gingerbread Bread Pudding, Sticky Toffee Gingerbread Pudding, Gingerbread-Maple Moon Pies, Gingerbread-Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches, Gingerbread Blackberry Trifle, Chris's Pumpkin-Gingerbread Torte, and Gingerbread Buche de Noel.

The fourth chapter is entitled, "Ice Cream and Confections" and includes recipes for Gingerbread Ice Cream, Caramel-Ginger Cookie-Chocolate Chun Ice Cream, Pain d-Epices Ice Cream, Pumpkin-Gingersnap Ice Cream, Gingerbread-Hazelnut Rum Balls, Gingerbread Butter Drops, Panforte Margherita, Burgundian Spiced Caramels, and Spiced Christmas Toffee.

The next chapter is one of the reasons I purchased the book and is on Gingerbread for Breakfast. Recipes include Gingerbread Pancakes, Gingerbread-Pumpkin Waffles, Gingerbread Doughnuts, Pain d'Epices, Pain d'Epices French Toast, and Gingerbread-Cranberry Scones.

The sixth chapter is on Gingerbread Houses and is brief. There are books dedicated solely to gingerbread houses (How to Build a Gingerbread House: A Step-by-Step Guide to Sweet Results,Gingerbread Houses, and The Gingerbread Architect: Recipes and Blueprints for Twelve Classic American Homes among others) so I was glad the author didn't try to cover all the possibilities. She provides a recipe for four pounds of Gingerbread House Dough and then provides instructions and templates for a gingerbread church and a gingerbread house (specifically Betsy Ross' house in Philadelphia).

The final chapter is on Basics & Accompaniments and includes recipes for Whipped Cream, Creme Anglaise, Vanilla Ice Cream, Dede's Italian Buttercream, Royal Icing, Dark Chocolate Glaze and Candied Orange Peel. Recipes for other accompanients are featured with main recipes and include Apple Butter, Molasses-Maple Marshmallows, Chestnut and Chocolate Buttercreams, and Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache.

While beginners can hopefully successfully tackle many of the recipes, there are several more complicated recipes that may cause even intermediate bakers some anxiety. For example, Robert's Celebration Gingerbread Cake requires three layers of cake, two meringue rounds, and praline buttercream. Carol Lee's Jeweled Gingerbread Fruitcake is covered in rolled marzipan and then rolled fondant. You have to make your own Molasses-Maple Marshmallows for the Gingerbread-Maple Moon Pies.

I would have liked more photos of the finished products. Of the 56 main recipes (not including accompanients such as icing and glaze), only 23 are pictured. There is not even a picture of the church gingerbread house. I find it very helpful to know what the finished product is supposed to look like (especially when the decoration is important, as it is in a gingerbread house).

This book would be a thoughtful hostess gift in the fall and winter, perhaps accompanied by gingerbread cookies or another treat from the book. A cookie cutter for a gingerbread man could be a finishing touch for a thoughtful gift.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2009
Some people may think I'm crazy to say this, but I'm looking forward to winter! I'm craving cozy days in front of the fire with a book and a pot of tea. I'm also really craving the cozy foods that go along with the season. Gingerbread is a cozy food, so I ordered this book. First, I was pleased that this book, being focused on one narrow topic, was not a tiny booklet with maybe only a couple dozen recipes. Instead, it is nicely sized, with about 60 recipes and 23 photos.

Second, all the recipes are appealing to me. They are surprisingly quite varied. I think the first things I'll be making will be: Grandmom Lindner's Favorite Gingerbread Cake (looks simple, moist and delicious), Robert's Celebration Gingerbread Cake (a layer cake with meringue and a praline buttercream...oh man!), Twice-Gingered Shortbread sounds good, as do the Gingerbread Madeleines (perfect with that pot of tea in front of the fire),---- I'm about to list all the recipes here!----Gingerbread Blondies, a Gingerbread-Blackberry Trifle, a Gingerbread Buche de Noel with chestnut buttercream, and Gingerbread Ice Cream...I'll stop. It'll be so hard to choose one to try first!

I'll update this review as soon as I've made a few of the recipes.

Update (4/30/10): I only got around to making 5 recipes, but they were all quite good. I did have a little trouble with the rum sauce recipe. It doesn't seem possible to dissolve the sugar with the amount of butter listed...

I still highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2012
I got this book for the Holidays last year, and I love it! Great book, nicely detailed. I would have loved even more pictures!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2011
I have made a couple of the recipes in this book and each of them turned out fantastic. In fact, the results managed to change people who didn't even like the items in question (caramels, toffee and gingerbread cake in my case)into fans. Wonderful!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2013
This is a book with great fundamental recipes for gingerbread as well as some new interpretations on modern cuisine - with a gingerbread flare. Any serious baker should take a look at the wide range of recipes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2014
I had seen this book at a friends house and enjoyed it enough to purchase it as a gift. Now I have to order one for me too.
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on December 7, 2014
Recipes for all types of gingerbread abound in this small treasure. I actually was pleased to receive this. Recipes for building gingerbread houses usually aren't as tasty or soft in texture because of the need for strength in buildings. But, these recipes are from the "OLD" school of breads, cookies, cakes and other treats. Each is redolent of ginger, cinnamon, and other wonderful autumn spices.
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on January 10, 2015
got this after Christmas (I used my gift money :) ) and made the Chocolate Gingerbread....OMG was it amazingly delicious and super moist. There is nice detail and history and the recipes are very well written. I got mine used and the only complaint was that the paper cover was dirty (I tossed it, not big deal)
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on January 3, 2015
Gingerbread cookbook was nice. Imagine it will be used mostly during the Holiday Seasons. Purchased a gingerbread rag doll to go with the book gift and was so cute. Gift was much appreciated!
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on December 20, 2012
Great cookbook--it has a great variety of gingerbread recipes. Gingerbread is paired with numerous ingredients. I would recommend it for the hard core gingerbread fan.
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