Christmas and gingerbread go hand-in-hand. A traditional Christmas is incomplete without gingerbread. We Indians have developed our own ways of celebrating Christmas, but even today when you visit a Catholic household, you will find this baked good, especially a gingerbread man and house to be an indispensable part of their Christmas celebration.
If you want to make a gingerbread house or a gingerbread man from scratch, let us tell you in advance, it’s going to be a project. But the kind of fun project that you used to look forward to in school. And making a gingerbread man house or man just doesn’t end at that. There’s frosting and decorations too, something that you can do with your friends and family. But before we get into the fun part of making gingerbread structures, let’s find out why gingerbread is such an important part of Christmas.
Why do we eat gingerbread on Christmas?
Firstly, gingerbread refers to a type of baked goods that have notes of ginger, cloves, nutmeg or cinnamon, and have a spicy kick to them.
Around 5,000 years ago, ginger root was cultivated in China, where it was believed that ginger has medicinal properties. According to some food historians, the first ever recipe for a ginger-based sweet treat dates back to as early as 2400 BC.
Later on, as is believed, gingerbread came to Europe in 992 CE, and an Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis is the man behind it. It later on reached Sweden in the 13th century, as Swedish nuns believed it cured indigestion.
It was a ritual to bake white biscuits and paint them as window decorations. The first evidence of these baked biscuits date back to the 17th century, when these were sold in monasteries, pharmacies, and town square farmers’ markets.
Over the years, this custom spread across Europe and then reached America. It is believed that since ginger has calming properties and soothes indigestion, gingerbread is common during the holiday season, because who doesn’t overeat during Christmas?
How did the concept of gingerbread house become popular?
This concept saw its birth in Germany during the 16th century, when elaborate cookie houses were made and decorated and became a part of Christmas tradition. Further, according to Fox News, its popularity shot up even more after the Grimm Brothers wrote the story of Hansel and Gretel. We all remember reading this as kids and stepping into the dream world where a house is made entirely of baked treats, don’t we?
How to make a gingerbread house?
Like we said, this is not an easy feat. It is a treat shaped like a house made from cookie dough, that is cut and baked into different parts of a house, like roof, doors, windows and more.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make a gingerbread house:
How to make a gingerbread man?
Let’s face it, making a house is for the experts. If that seems too tough a task, you can start by making a gingerbread man. With less structures to make and bake, this will seem much less overwhelming if you are a beginner.
Here’s a step by step guide on how to make a gingerbread man: