Gingerbread cookies—the hard kind you make those big houses out of—are mildly edible. But ginger snaps are great. Best of all, we think, is gingerbread cake, the ideal fall dessert. One of the best in Utah comes from the kitchen at Hell’s Backbone Grill. Here’s the (slightly modified) recipe from their first cookbook, “With a Measure of Grace.” 

Available, along with the second volume, “This Immeasurable Place,” at local bookstores or at  

Jen Castle, Blake Spalding, Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm
Jen Castle and Blake Spalding, Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm


3 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. ground ginger
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground chile powder (we like New Mexican chile powder, if you can find it)
1 ½ sticks butter
2 eggs
1 ½ cups molasses
1 ¼ cups boiling water
2 Tbsp. chopped crystallized ginger
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger 
1 cup chopped pears for optional topping

  1. Butter a 9 x 13-inch pan. Place a rack in the middle of oven; preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together. Beat butter until soft, then add sugar and eggs. Stir in the molasses, then the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in water slowly. Add crystallized and grated ginger.
  3. Bake about 40 minutes. When cool, cut into squares. 
  4. To gild the lily, serve the gingerbread topped with warm caramel sauce and whipped cream, or vanilla or coffee ice cream, or sautéed pears or apples. Or savor as it is, right out of the pan and into your mouth. 

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