I will admit that when I was just a little girl, I loved everything chocolate. Anything that was about the right color, I assumed was chocolate. What bitter disappointed to taste something else – like spice cake or gingerbread! They taste nothing like chocolate. Now that I’m older, I still say “if it’s not chocolate, why bother” but I’m happy to say I can find room to appreciate the unique taste of gingerbread (and possibly spice cake) and even enjoy it. Visiting today is Cynthia Owen with an easy gingerbread recipe. She’s also giving away a signed cover flat from Reluctant Betrayer to one lucky commenter!
Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog for Food Friday. Today I’d like to share with your readers a quick, easy and delicious recipe for gingerbread.
This is probably my all-time favorite treat, whether on a cold winter day (and it can get really cold here in Montreal), or a warm summer morning. It tastes great warm from the oven with a glass of cold milk, or cold with a hot cup of tea (my favorite is Barry’s Gold Blend Irish Tea). And drizzled with molasses, it’s food for the gods.
There’s something comforting about gingerbread. It brings to mind thoughts of cozy evenings by a roaring fire, Christmas, and stimulating conversations with good friends.
½ cup shortening
½ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup Fancy Molasses
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. cloves
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix together shortening, sugar and egg, blend in molasses and water. Sift together dry ingredients and stir in, beating until smooth. Pour into 9” square pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes.
BIO: I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.
My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.
A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three.
I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond, and The Wild Geese Series, in which five Irish heroes return from the American Civil War to find love and adventure.
I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two teenaged children.
Sweet deception and hidden passion…
Trasnavan…a west-of-Ireland village bursting with charm, intrigue and treachery.
Aidan Collins grew up in the shadow of his heroic older brother. The steady one, the responsible one, he burns with anger against the landlord and vows to change the desperate straits of the village folk.
Raised in a family of rebels, Maura Riordan is horrified when she learns the man she loves has committed the ultimate act of treason.
But Aidan has his own reasons for taking the position of landlord’s agent. Will those reasons destroy him? Will Maura’s deception tear them apart?
Can their love survive the lies they’ve both told?
Reluctant Betrayer, Book V in the Claddagh Series.
EXCERPT: Trasnavan, Galway, Ireland, 1867
“We have to go.”
Aidan Collins bolted up from his pallet in the sleeping loft, rubbing his eyes against the darkness and straining to make out the hushed voices.
“Ah, no, Liam, don’t be goin’ now.” Ma’s voice. Shrill, terrified. Saturated with tears. “Sure, ye’ll not be leavin’ us now. “Don’t go, son.”
“Ma.” Liam’s hoarse voice vibrated with panic. Rustling sounds told Aidan his brother had caught their mother in his arms. He heard her muffled sobs in the murky darkness. “Ma, I’ve no choice. We must be away…sure, aren’t Old Benny’s men on the lookout for us?”
“’Twas ye and the Crow Boys set that fire?” His father’s voice now, heavy with sorrow.
“Aye, Da. I’m sorry to disappoint you—”
“Never, son.” More rustling. Aidan pictured the three of them locked in a tearful embrace. Envy swept over him. Would Ma and Da ever look at him that way? Ever be as proud of him, the quiet one, the one who yearned to read and write, as they were of the rebel Liam?
Raw panic eclipsed his resentment.
Liam was leaving!
Aidan wasn’t so young that he didn’t understand what happened. He’d known for days—sure, everyone had—that something was in the wind. The Crow Boys had left a warning for their landlord on Christmas Eve, a warning he’d ignored. They’d had to act, had to make a stand for Ireland’s freedom.
He’d heard Liam and Brian talking behind the graveyard at the ruins of the old church. He knew the Crow Boys planned a raid on Bennington House. They had guns, and they had spirit.
And tonight they’d set fire to the Big House.
Something must have gone wrong. Aidan shoved back his threadbare blanket and climbed down the rickety ladder his grandda had built to where Liam stood in a fierce, desperate embrace with their parents.
His brother stiffened. His arms slid away from Mam and Da, and he turned slowly to Aidan. His face was wet with tears, his gray-green eyes filled with pain. Wordlessly, he held out his arms.
Aidan flew into his embrace, shaking with silent sobs. “Take me with you.”
“I can’t. Sure, ‘tis tearin’ the heart from me breast to leave you, but me life’s not worth a farthing to them that’s chasin’ me.”
“Where will ye go?” Their little sister, tiny Caitlin, appeared beside them, and Liam turned to gather her into his arms. “Will we never see ye again?”
Liam’s shoulders heaved. “I don’t know, a gráh.”
The five of them clung together until three sharp knocks sounded on the door, then one more, and another two.
The time had come.
“‘Tis Brian.” Liam turned to kiss his sobbing mother. He held out his hand to his father, but the older man pulled him into a fierce embrace.
“Take care o’ yerself, son. And ne’er forget ye’re a Collins.”
“I won’t, Da.” Liam broke free, catching wee Cait up in his arms. “Don’t you forget me now, love, for ‘tis sure I’ll always remember you.”
Liam put down the little girl. Caitlin turned to fling her arms around her weeping mother.
At last Liam turned to Aidan.
Aidan’s heart splintered. His adored older brother was leaving. Likely they’d never see him again, only hear of him from one of the boys who’d received a letter from somewhere.
Liam caught him in a fierce hug. Aidan squeezed his eyes shut in a vain attempt to stem the tide of tears scalding his throat. “Godspeed, brother. May the road rise to meet you.”
“May the blessing of light be on you. May the blessed sunlight shine on you and warm your heart till it glows like a great turf fire.” Liam pulled back just long enough to stare into Aidan’s eyes. “Look after them, lad. See they’re kept safe. And mind yourself.”
I will. The words strangled in Aidan’s throat. Before he could speak, Liam tore himself away, caught up his bag of possessions, and wrenched open the door.
Aidan stood for a long time, staring out the top of the half-door. A silent vow formed in his heart.
I’ll look after them, Liam.
I’ll make you proud.
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