"There is one extraordinary ingredient that goes into everything I cook and bake. Please, do not forget this ingredient for it is important to all recipes. When I am cooking or baking, I add extra spoonfuls of love to all my recipes. Love added to all things good makes them just a little bit better. Yes, I Randi L. Levin, aka The Muffin Lady, did write my own books and did so without a ghostwriter!"

Gingerbread

Around the first snow of the winter holiday season, my customers in the city requested that I bake them some gingerbread. I couldn't tell them that I didn't have a recipe, and thus could'’t make it for them, so I began to play with ingredients. Although it took several trials and days to develop a recipe, I finally came up with the recipe below. That was about 18 years ago, and I still continue to receive special requests for my Gingerbread today.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

1 cup (2 sticks) soft butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup molasses
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cloves
2 teaspoons ginger
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup of chopped walnuts and/or raisins, optional

1. Cream together the butter, sugar, eggs and molasses.
2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and spices.
3. Alternately add the sifted flour and spices to egg mixture with the buttermilk.
4. Add the chopped walnuts and/or raisins and mix the batter thoroughly.
5. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
6. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
7. Bake 45-55 minutes or until inserted knife or toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool 20 minutes prior to serving.

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