The holiday season is a time for baking and one of the seasonal favourites is gingerbread. Did you know Saturday December 12th is Gingerbread Decorating Day? What child wouldn’t love baking, building and decorating an entire gingerbread house that could then be inhabited by a colourful little gingerbread family?
What is gingerbread? “Gingerbread” refers to a variety of ginger-flavoured foods. Gingerbread is a sweet food flavoured with ginger. Gingerbread can vary, ranging from a soft, moist loaf cake to a ginger biscuit.
Did you know?
- The Gingerbread Man is a famous fairy tale much loved by children and often used to teach children to read because of its repetitive nature.
- Gingerbread houses were created after the Brothers Grimm published the fairytale Hansel and Gretel, which referred to the house the two siblings come upon in the forest as being made of sugar, cake and gingerbread.
- The largest gingerbread house stands more than 67 feet tall and used 14, 250 pounds of gingerbread and 4, 750 pounds of icing.
- According to the Swedish tradition, you can make a wish, using gingerbread. Hold gingerbread in your palm and then make a wish. Then you break the gingerbread with your other hand. If the gingerbread brakes in to three, the wish will come true.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Cream the butter, shortening and the sugar together. Add the egg, vanilla and molasses and mix until well blended.
- Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves and salt, mixing until well combined. Use a wooden spoon if your mixer can’t handle it.
- Transfer the dough to an airtight container and chill for 2-3 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Lightly flour a surface and roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick.
- Use cookie cutters to cut out the dough into Gingerbread People or other shapes.
- Place cookies 1″ apart on greased cookie sheets.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are light brown along the edges.
- Once cookies have cooled, you can decorate them with icing and candy.
Other Gingerbread recipes to try:
Gingerbread Reading: Once your cookies are all done, curl up with little ones, enjoy your cookies and do some gingerbread reading.
- The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray (ages3+)
- Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett (ages3+)
- The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth (ages3+)
- Touch and Feel Fairy Tales: The Gingerbread Man by ladybird (ages 0-2)
- Gingerbread Bunny by Jonathan Allen (ages 0-2)