It’s that time of the year again where more baking is done in households, mine definitely included. There is nothing better then baking some scrumptious treats to be given out to friends and family. I love to bake and when I get into the flow of things I find it hard to stop and by the time I do stop I realize I may have gone slightly overboard, but then again how much is too much.
There are some “special” treats that are made more at Christmas time then any other time of the year. Treats such as gingerbread, sugar cookies, chocolate peppermint bark, shortbread, chocolate truffles, etc. All of these can easily be made anytime but there is something about making goodies in winter that really spark a persons passion in the kitchen and need to show off their hard work.
Over the next three days I will be bringing a gluten free and vegan recipe of some yummy treats. Today is Gingerbread!
Gingerbread traces its origin to the 900s AD when a monk introduced the confection to the French people. It then spread throughout the rest of Europe where it was adopted by many nations and given a regional makeover. The 17th century saw the introduction of the cookie version of gingerbread.
It was believed that these cookies had medicinal properties and often could be found sold in pharmacies of the time and in monastic hospitals. The gingerbread men shape is thought to have been an invention of Queen Elizabeth I of England to serve to foreign dignitaries. Other types of gingerbread are as a cake or as a loaf of bread that is sliced and buttered for breakfast.
As ginger was an ingredient that was extremely expensive only nobility or royals could afford to have it in their households. It would only have been baked into gingerbread at special occasions, such as when a Lord may want to impress his guests, or at a wedding. It also tended to be mixed with honey or molasses and wine, particularly red wine.
In many ways the original gingerbread was more of a bread pudding as it would use chuncks of a bread loaf mixed with liquids and spices and then set to dry. Today gingerbread, or some variation of it is popular worldwide and in the traditionally Christian parts of the world is prepared at Christmas time.