Gingerbread Cookies with Fig Whipped Cream

“This recipe follows mostly Mary Randolph, since it is an old-fashioned gingerbread. Compared to the delicate crispness of cookies lightened with baking powder, these wafers are quite hard when freshly made, though both texture and flavor improve dramatically after two or three days’ storage in an airtight tin.”

-Jefferson-era recipe adapted by Katy Woods from Dining at Monticello

Crisp Gingerbread

1/2 ounce sugargingerbread cookies

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 rounded tablespoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/3 cups unsulfured molasses

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk the sugar, flour, and spices and make  a well in the center. Stir together the butter and molasses and pour them into the center of the dry ingredients, working them into the flour to form a smooth, fairly stiff dough.

2. Divide the dough into 6 lumps. Lightly  flour a work surface and roll out one lump until it is wafer thin. Cut into 1 1/4 –inch rounds and transfer with a metal spatula to buttered baking sheets. Bake on 325 degrees for 6 minutes. Cool on the pans.


Fig Whipped Cream

1/2 cup Monticello Fig  Preserves

2 cups heavy cream

1. Mix fig preserves and heavy cream in a medium bowl using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

2. To assemble: Place 2 tablespoons of whipped cream between two gingerbread cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


diningatmonticelloDining at Monticello offers an inviting view of the renowned hospitality offered at Thomas Jefferson’s table. This beautiful hardcover book contains ten essays discussing topics such as the groceries and wine imported from Europe, the recent kitchen restoration, and the African Americans who participated in Monticello’s rich food culture at every stage. Seventy-five delicious recipes from Jefferson family manuscripts, updated by editor Damon Lee Fowler, are authentic to the period and made accessible for today’s home cook.


MonticelloRecipe_BlogKaty Woods is in her fourth year at the University of Virginia, where she studies psychology. Though always an avid foodie, it was not until Katy came to UVa that she fell in love with the local food movement. Through an internship at Monticello during her third year at UVa, Katy was inspired by Jefferson’s ingenuity to cultivate crops and introduce French cuisine to the United States at the turn of the nineteenth century. Since this experience, Katy has demonstrated Jefferson-era recipes for the Heritage Harvest Festival and continued to adapt Monticello classics for modern cooks.  Katy plans to stay in the Charlottesville, VA area after college.

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