If you’re like many people, the scent and taste of gingerbread brings to mind holiday memories. Whether it’s in the form of cookies, a decorated house, or even a flavored latte, gingerbread is everywhere this time of year.

One great holiday Gingerbread tradition is decorating Gingerbread Houses!

One great holiday Gingerbread tradition is decorating Gingerbread Houses!

But did you ever wonder why gingerbread is a part of the holiday season, or even where gingerbread came from in the first place? We found this fun, informative article with all sorts of interesting facts about the history of gingerbread.

 

According to the story, gingerbread has been baked in Europe since the eleventh century. Depending on the specific location it might be a soft cake, a crisp, flat cookie, or warm, thick, dark squares of “bread.” Although the exact flavor could vary, gingerbread was usually cut into shapes such as men, women, stars or animals.

 

If it’s often in the form of a cookie, why is it called “gingerbread“? As the article explains:

In Medieval England gingerbread meant simply “preserved ginger” and was an adaptation of the Old French gingebras, derived from the Latin name of the spice, Zingebar. It was only in the fifteenth century that the term came to be applied to a kind of cake made with treacle, an uncrystalized syrup drained from raw sugar during the refining process, and flavored with ginger. Ginger was also discovered to have a preservative effect when added to pastries and bread, and this probably led to the development of recipes for ginger cakes, cookies, and flavored breads.

Gingerbread came to North America with the settlers from all over Europe who brought their traditions and family recipes. The German practice of making and decorating houses from gingerbread at Christmas time was especially prevalent in Pennsylvania, where there was a strong German influence. Many traditional German gingerbreads reappeared in this area, especially during the holiday season.

Gingerbread Cookies from Smiley Cookie honor the long standing tradition of gingerbread on the holidays!

Gingerbread Cookies from Smiley Cookie honor the long standing tradition of gingerbread on the holidays!

At Smiley Cookie we put our own twist on the classic gingerbread cookie with our gingerbread smileys and mini gingerbread smileys, available in a variety of holiday gift sets. Contact us to check out our entire selection of gingerbread and other holiday cookies.

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