There’s probably not a single aroma that says “Christmas” more than the smell of fresh gingerbread baking in the oven.

This ancient cake made with exotic flavors like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and, of course, ginger is synonymous with the holidays. And not only does it make a sweet treat to eat, but its sturdy constitution makes it ideal for the creation of all kinds of shapes…even entire houses!

The gingerroot, whose intense flavor is at the heart of gingerbread, was introduced to Europeans in the eleventh century. When the English began adding bread crumbs to mixtures of boiled ginger and sugar, the Western world saw its first forerunners of the gingerbread we know today.

By the 1300’s there is evidence of the use of gingerbread to create castles, towers and battlements. Also, ladies might make and decorate gingerbread for their knights. Colored sugars and icings were often used to make these confections quite elaborate.

The discovery of the New World in the 17th century introduced Europeans to a novel form of sweetener—molasses. When this byproduct of sugar cane processing was added to the dough, gingerbread became even more like we know it today.

Gingersnaps

A thin and crisp cookie that will melt in your mouth!

Open Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, ground
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • extra sugar

DIRECTIONS

Cream butter and 1 cup of sugar until light. Add egg, and molasses; beat well. Combine flour, spices, salt, and soda; add to creamed mixture, blending well. Shape into small balls and roll in sugar.

Bake at 325° F for 8 to 12 minutes. Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.

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