My mother made these Gingerbread Cookies every year at Christmas time. They are made with a nice blend of spices, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and are sweetened with molasses and brown sugar. These cookies are thin, crunchy and addicting!
A Holiday Tradition
I still uphold the Christmas tradition of making these cookies as well as many other types of cookies, like my Jan Hagel cookies. Joe and I pack them into decorative holiday tins and ship them around the country to our family and friends. Inevitably, everyone always ask for more gingerbread cookies! Now you can start the tradition of baking these yummy cookies each year too.
My mom didn’t bake a lot, but I do remember her baking a few things like Cookies at Christmas time, Hummingbird Cake when we had guests come over for dinner and Pumpkin Pie at Thanksgiving. My brother, sister and I would help roll out the gingerbread cookie dough and cut it into a variety of shapes, like gingerbread men, Christmas trees, stars and reindeer. Now I decorate them with royal icing, but when I was little we would decorate them with raisins. They are delicious with or without the icing. I just think they are prettier with the icing.
The History of Gingerbread Cookies
I always think of gingerbread as being a German cookie, but after researching, I found more examples. An early form of gingerbread can be traced to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians! They used it for ceremonial purposes. Later, other cultures discovered gingerbread as well. For instance in the 11th-century, the Crusaders brought ginger from the Middle East to Europe. An early European recipe for gingerbread contained ginger (of course), ground almonds, breadcrumbs, rosewater and sugar. They pressed the dough into molds that looked like the kings, queens or religious figures.
Eventually, the recipes came to include flour and eggs making a lighter cookie. Gingerbread houses became popular in Germany after the Brother Grimm published their fairy tales. German settlers brought the gingerbread house tradition to the United States where it is extremely popular to this day.