That’s a Spicy Cookie, Martha!- Gingerbread Cookies! -162 eggs, 131 cups of sugar, 124 sticks of Butter, and 160 cups of flour used so far- 84 recipes to go!

December 26, 2010

Martha's Gingerbread Snowflakes

André’s Gingerbread Snowflakes and Fleur de Lis

“Run! Run! As fast as you can! You can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

The cookie that is probably most associated with the holidays is the gingerbread cookie. Martha’s book features this cookie in snowflake form although any shape will do just as nicely.

Gingerbread was first introduced to the world in the fifteenth century after crusaders returned to Europe from the Far East with the spices that make gingerbread such a fancy treat. Most gingerbreads were not baked in the homes during this time, but rather were baked by guilds of skilled bakers. The most famous of these European guilds was the Lubkuchen guild in Nuremberg, Germany.  Their gingerbread was considered so superior it was briefly used as a form of currency.

Germans usually use honey to sweeten their gingerbread. The British use golden syrup or brown sugar. Americans use molasses. Martha’s recipe is distinctly American and calls for quite a bit of dark unsulphured molasses. Unsulphured is the highest quality molasses made of cane sugar that has been sun dried, clarified and concentrated.  It also makes for a very sticky and difficult dough to work with.

The key to making a pliable and user-friendly gingerbread dough is to keep it chilled. The colder the better. this means having to take the time to constantly chill and re-chill the dough through the process. Roll out the dough, chill it. Cut out your shapes. Chill them. Roll up the scraps. Chill them. Repeat ad nauseum.

In addition to keeping them chilled you need to constantly dust the flour off of them otherwise you’ll end up with unattractive and powdery gingerbread cookies. Of course after they’ve baked,  you have to go through the tedious task of decorating each one with Royal Icing.  It’s called Royal Icing because Eggy Cement doesn’t sound as appetizing.

These cookies were a lot of work but they were also really tasty. Of of all the cookies I sent out the door to my partner’s workplace, not a ginger-crumb of these came back.

So there’s your history lesson and a quick little review. Look for the next Holiday cookie post in the next day or two.

One Response to “That’s a Spicy Cookie, Martha!- Gingerbread Cookies! -162 eggs, 131 cups of sugar, 124 sticks of Butter, and 160 cups of flour used so far- 84 recipes to go!”

  1. Alarie Tennille Says:

    Love the fleurs de lis! And gingerbread is one of my favorite flavors…in case you need to know that in April. 😀

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