Grasmere Gingerbread

Saturday 17 September 2011

Considered to be one of Cumbria's most popular village, Grasmere sits about halfway down the ambleside area of Lake Windemere. (The most popular of the Lakes in the Lake District.) This is due in large part to the fact that the writer William Wordsworth lived here from 1779 to 1850. It was also sometimes the home of Coleridge and Thomas de Quincy.

There is a lovely museum there where you can read their works and see photos etc. You can also visit Dove Cottage where Wordsworth lived with his sister Dorothy. A very worthwhile place to visit as well.

Another thing that Grasmere is famous for, and maybe even more famous for than it's Wordsworth connections is that it is the place that Grasmere Gingerbread is made! (Since the 1850's) The shop that makes it is tucked into a corner of the churchyard where Wordsworth now sleeps, and unmistakingly surrounded by the delicious smell of baking gingerbread.

The recipe, of course, is a very close held secret, but there are a few versions about, all claiming to be as good as the orignal. Jamie Oliver has a version here. (It looks very, very good too, I might add.) I also found another recipe on the BBC Good Food site, which I have adapted to American ingredients and measurements below.

In any case, this was my first opportunity to try out the Gingerbread, having come up here on some threee separate occasions now, and I can say . . . unequivically, without a doubt, it is some of the best Gingerbread I have ever eaten. Somewhere between a gingerbread cookie and a cake . . . it's quite unsual and quite, QUITE delicious! (I have not baked this recipe, but the picture on the BBC Good Food page looked very delicious and quite close to the original!)

*Grasmere Gingerbread*
Makes 12 slices
Printable Recipe

Adapted from a recipe on BBC Good Food.

First mix:
95g shortbread biscuits (generous 1 1/2 cups)
95g oatcake biscuits (generous 1 1/2 cups)
30g soft light brown sugar (2 1/2 TBS packed)
4ml of ground ginger (about 3/4 tsp)

Second mix:
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
40g mixed peel
35g crystallised Ginger (minced)(2 1/2 TBS)
40g oat flour (porrige oats put through a coffee grinder)(1/2 cup)

Toffee Mix:
55g golden syrup
30g treacle
(In North America use a scant 4 TBS of mild molasses instead
of the syrup and treacle)
70g soft light brown sugar (Generous 1/3 cup packed)
55g butter (1/4 cup)

Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F/ gas mark 3. Grease a 7x11 inch baking tin. Set aside.

Put the "First Mix" ingredients into a food processor, and blend to a fairly fine crumb. Remove 40g of this, and put in a small bowl (to be used after the baking stage). Put the remainder into a large bowl.

Add the "Second Mix" ingredients to the large bowl. Mix in.

Put the "Toffee Mix" ingredients into a small pan. Slowly bring to boil while stirring. Using a thermometer, slowly heat until the boiling point reaches 119*C. (This temperature is quite critical.) Add this hot liquid mix to the large bowl, and mix in thoroughly. Pour this mix into the baking tin, and smooth down firmly. Bake near the middle of the oven for 15 minutes.

Spread the reserved mixture evenly onto the hot ginger slice, and press down gently. Leave to cool completely and then cut into slices. Enjoy!

If you'd like to read a little bit more about our holiday and see a video I took of the Cumbrian Fells, do hop on over to the Cottage to see more!


  1. Lovely blog Marie. What a beautiful place. I couldn't see a video though, there was just a black square. Sorry that the weather was not very nice but I'm sure you had a great time anyway. That poem about the daffodils.... I always thought the line was "a host of 'golden' daffodils". Have I been wrong all these years, LOL? I'm just back from a trip also. Have a wonderful day. Back to bed for me, LOL

  2. You're reminding me of my childhood, as the Lake District was somewhere we visited a lot. Seeing all these familiar places makes me feel like I have been again! I remember making a version of Grasmere Gingerbread in a cookery lesson at school, it became a firm favourite of my dad's after that.

  3. I remember the last time I was in Grasmere, I bought all of my family and friends boxes of Grasmere Gingerbread as we all LOVE ginger! Lovely photos of the area Marie and nice to see authentic British products plugged too.
    Karen @ Lavender and Lovage
    PS: The video did not work for me too....never mind, I will be there in person soon as I may take a trip to the Lake District when I am back home!

  4. The packaging is so pretty also..

    Love the cottages..the views..we are lucky to see all this..Thank you~

  5. I love Grassmere, although I do confess to not being the biggest fan of the gingerbread. My sis in law bought loads of the stuff when we went there last year though.

  6. I want to come vist!!! It looks so beautiful. And I love your recipes. I'll cook you some Southern Tennessee food. Of course everything is fried here.

  7. What lovely recipe dear Marie, Im happy yo enjoy with Todd your vacances my friend, have a nice weekend send you huggs and love, xxxgloria

  8. Hi Marie - this is my favorite type of recipe - one with a story. A think I saw a recipe for this in Bruce Richardson's "Great Tea Rooms of Britain" and one of my customers baked it and brought me some. Thank you so much as I am printing yours!

  9. That gingerbread looks to die for! I'll have to try your recipe! Thanks so much!

    I love seeing all your pictures from the countryside. It makes me want to hop on a plane and go visit right this second!

  10. I would love to have you link this to Friends Sharing Tea!

  11. I've never made the real Grasmere Gingerbread, maybe it is about time I tried! Lovely photos, I've been to Dove Cottage and right next door is lovely tea shop which serves slices of fruit cake with Wenslydale cheese on the side, my favourite thing.

  12. I was there last year! It was wonderful!

  13. "Catch me if you can I'm the Gingerbread man!" do you remember that from children's stories? Lovely post Marie, I've had Grasmere Gingerbread and can't wait to try your recipe. I never used a candy thermometer..hope it's not too tricky. YUM.

  14. beautiful photos Marie, yuou are having a wonderful time, this recipe is indeed different,, sounds very tasty though,

  15. I was on the Great British Kitchen website the other day looking over their recipe for this. When they listed it as food from Cumbria, I remembered reading this was where you were on holiday and I'd hoped you'd mention this. Now I have recipes to compare! Hope you had a great time :)


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