Eggless Apple Ginger Gem Muffins from 1917

Eggless recipes were crutial during WWI, when egg shortages troubled families.

Lauren Thomann is an antique dealer, freelance writer, and editor with 16 years of experience and a B.A. in English and Linguistics. She specializes in antiques (mainly Victorian through Mid-Century), antique jewelry, old house renovations, and lifestyle and home-related content.
Apple Ginger Gem Muffins

We’re rediscovering the nostalgic wartime recipe for apple ginger bread (or gem muffins) from the Eggless Recipe Book by Orloff H Thompson. Passed down through generations, this vintage recipe brings back memories of cozy gatherings and mouthwatering aromas. Let’s revive this beloved (and maybe even healthy) breakfast with a few modern adjustments.

Modern Adjustments

Adapting vintage recipes allows us to honor tradition while embracing the conveniences of modern cooking. To prepare this apple ginger bread, we’ll stay true to its essence while making practical adjustments. One thing we won’t do: Add eggs.

Eggless Recipes

During World War I—when the Eggless Recipe Book by O.H. Thompson was published—eggs were scarce or heavily rationed. The book provided valuable solutions for households affected by rationing and those supporting the war efforts. Eggless recipes allowed families to continue enjoying homemade treats while stretching ingredients and showcasing resourcefulness. These recipes fostered a sense of unity, resilience, and thriftiness in the face of adversity.

Ingredient Swaps

  • Use vegetable oil or melted coconut oil instead of drippings.
  • Replace sugar with brown sugar or a natural sweetener like maple syrup.
  • Opt for whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour for a healthier or dietary-friendly version.
  • Add enough flour to make a medium-stiff batter, adjusting as needed for the desired consistency.

Baking Temperature and Time

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) for a moderate temperature that allows the flavors to develop.
  • Bake the Apple Ginger Bread for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

What Is a Gem Tin?

This recipe calls for a gem tin—a baking pan that closely resembles today’s muffin tins. Gem tins, unlike muffin tins, have smaller and often rounder cups. If you don’t have one on hand, don’t worry!

Pan Alternatives

  • If you don’t have a gem tin, use a standard muffin tin or mini loaf pans for individual servings.
  • A 9×5-inch (23×13 cm) loaf pan works well for a single loaf of Apple Ginger Bread.

Apple Ginger Gem Muffins

Apple Ginger Bread Without Eggs

Serves: 8-12 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 1 cup chopped tart apples
  • 1 lemon, boiled and chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup drippings
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water


Mix all together and add of flour enough to make a medium stiff batter; stir in a teaspoon of soda dissolved in a tablespoon of water, then stir in a teaspoon of baking powder sifted with a tablespoon of flour; mix well and bake in a loaf or gem pans; moderate oven.

Apple Ginger Recipe

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