It’s something my kids look forward to the minute we see the kits piled high at Costco on Easter, lol! Okay, maybe it’s not quite that early. But it’s early. And getting them to wait until December to assemble and decorate their Gingerbread House is exhausting. Thankfully the wait is finally over, let the Gingerbread House decorating begin!
I love how each child is so different when it comes to their Gingerbread House decorating etiquette. I have one that does the classic, one piece of candy for the house, one for their mouth, one for the house, one for their mouth, lol! Then I have another who takes the decorating process extremely seriously. And a third that falls somewhere in-between. Where do your kiddos land?
Ever wondered where the Gingerbread originated from?
An early form of gingerbread can be traced to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians who used it for ceremonial purposes. Gingerbread made an appearance in Europe when 11th-century crusaders brought the spice back from the Middle East for the rich folks’ cooks to experiment with. As ginger and other spices became more affordable to the masses, gingerbread caught on. An early European recipe consisted of ground almonds, stale breadcrumbs, rosewater, sugar and, naturally, ginger. The resultant paste was pressed into wooden molds. These carved works of art served as a sort of story board that told the news of the day, bearing the likeness of new kings, emperors and queens, or religious symbols. The finished cookie might be decorated with edible gold paint (for those who could afford it) or flat white icing to bring out the details in relief.
In the 16th century, the English replaced the breadcrumbs with flour, and added eggs and sweeteners, resulting in a lighter product. The first gingerbread man is credited to Queen Elizabeth I, who knocked the socks off visiting dignitaries by presenting them with one baked in their own likeness. Gingerbread tied with ribbon was popular at fairs and, when exchanged, became a token of love. On a more practical note, before refrigeration was a twinkle in someone’s eye, aromatic crumbled gingerbread was added to recipes to mask the odor of decaying meat.
Have you ever made your own gingerbread? Or assembled a homemade Gingerbread House?