Whether cooked soft and spongy or crisp like a cookie, nothing beats this spicy treat, especially the soft cake variety served warm on a cold day. I started the tradition of baking warm gingerbread on Christmas Eve many years ago. When the kids would come in covered in snow from sledding or snowball fights, nothing warmed them faster than a big square of gingerbread warm from the oven and topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream. And there was many a Christmas where we’d spend happy hours together building the traditional gingerbread house. This led to quite a few hilarious moments when those houses simply refused to cooperate. But whether the house turned out neat and pretty or a total disaster, they never lasted through Christmas. They were just too delicious.
Gingerbread has been around forever. Well, at least since the eleventh century or longer. During the eighteenth century the Germans took their traditional treat to a whole new level, forming it into different shapes and lavishly decorating it with icing and candy. Eventually during the Christmas holiday, they began cutting and shaping the treat into houses. These lovely recipes came along when Europeans came to America and all us gingerbread lovers are eternally grateful they did.
So whether you like your gingerbread soft and warm or cookie crisp, have a little this holiday season and if you’ve never put together a gingerbread house, give it a try. There are plenty of kits out there if you’re not up to making one from scratch. My son even made one from graham crackers a couple of years ago. Very cute too.