One of America’s Favorite Christmas Treats – Gingerbread Man

December 9, 2014 at 6:36 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 3 Comments
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Gingerbread man

Gingerbread man

A gingerbread man is a biscuit or cookie made of gingerbread, usually in the shape of a stylized human, although other shapes, especially seasonal themes (Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc.) and characters, are quite common as well.

 

 

 

Gingerbread dates back to the 15th century, and figural biscuit-making was practiced in the 16th century. The first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuits was at the court of Elizabeth I of England. She had the gingerbread figures made and presented in the likeness of some of her important guests.

Most gingerbread men share the same roughly humanoid shape, with stubby feet and no fingers. Many gingerbread men have a face, though whether the features are indentations within the face itself or other candies stuck on with icing or chocolate varies from recipe to recipe. Other decorations are common; hair, shirt cuffs, and shoes are sometimes applied, but by far the most popular decoration is shirt buttons, which are traditionally represented by gum drops, icing, or raisins.

 

Gingerbread man and his wife

Gingerbread man and his wife

 

According to the 2009 Guinness Book of Records, the world’s largest gingerbread man was made on December 2, 2006 by the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce in Smithville, Texas, at their annual Festival of Lights celebration. The gingerbread man weighed in at 1,308 lbs, 8 oz (593.5 kg), and stood at over 20 feet (more than 6 m). On December 6, 2008, also in conjunction with the annual Festival of Lights celebration, a monument was dedicated in honor of the feat made from the very cookie sheet that was used to break the record.

 

 

 
Gingerbread Men Cookies (From http://allrecipes.com/recipe/gingerbread-men-cookies/)

 
“These Gingerbread Men Cookies are as cute as can be. If desired, decorate with raisins, currants or cinnamon red hot candies for eyes and buttons. Or, pipe untinted or colored icing onto cookies.”
INGREDIENTS:
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons McCormick® Ginger,
Ground
1 teaspoon McCormick® Cinnamon,
Ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Nutmeg,
Ground
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla
Extract

 
DIRECTIONS:
1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla;mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired. Store cookies in airtight container up to5 days.
Nutrition
Information
Servings Per Recipe: 24
Calories: 158
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 6.1g
Cholesterol: 24mg
Sodium: 125mg
Amount Per Serving
Total Carbs: 24g
Dietary Fiber: 0.5g
Protein: 2g
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/gingerbread-men-cookies/

A Christmas Favorite – Gingerbread

December 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM | Posted in baking, dessert | Leave a comment
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Gingerbread

Gingerbread

 

Gingerbread is a sweet food-product flavored with ginger and typically using honey or molasses (treacle) rather than just sugar. Gingerbread foods vary, ranging from a soft, moist loaf cake to something close to a ginger biscuit. The different types likely share a common origin.

 

 

 

Gingerbread was brought to Europe in 992 by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis (Gregory Makar) (Grégoire de Nicopolis). He left Nicopolis Pompeii, to live in Bondaroy (France), near the town of Pithiviers. He stayed there 7 years, and taught the Gingerbread cooking to French priests and Christians. He died in 999.
During the 13th century, it was brought to Sweden by German immigrants. In 15th century Germany, a gingerbread guild controlled production. Early references from the Vadstena Abbey show how the Swedish nuns were baking gingerbread to ease indigestion in 1444. It was the custom to bake white biscuits and paint them as window decorations.
The first documented trade of gingerbread biscuits dates to the 17th century[citation needed], where they were sold in monasteries, pharmacies and town square farmers’ markets. In Medieval England gingerbread was thought to have medicinal properties. One hundred years later the town of Market Drayton in Shropshire, UK became known for its gingerbread, as is proudly displayed on their town’s welcome sign. The first recorded mention of gingerbread being baked in the town dates back to 1793; however, it was probably made earlier, as ginger was stocked in high street businesses from the 1640s. Gingerbread became widely available in the 18th century.

 

 

 

* In England, gingerbread may refer to a cake, or a type of cookie / biscuit made with ginger. In the biscuit form, it commonly takes the form of a gingerbread man. Gingerbread men were first attributed to Queen Elizabeth I, who allegedly served the figurines to foreign dignitaries. Today, however, they are generally served around Christmas.
Parkin is a form soft gingerbread cake made with oatmeal and treacle which is popular in the northern England.
* In the United States, this form of gingerbread is sometimes called “gingerbread cake” or “ginger cake” to distinguish it from the harder forms. French pain d’épices is somewhat similar, though generally slightly drier, and involves honey rather than treacle. Original French gingerbread did not contain ginger.
* In Germany gingerbread is made in two forms: a soft form called Lebkuchen and a harder form, particularly associated with carnivals and street markets such as the Christmas markets that occur in many German towns. The hard gingerbread is made in decorative shapes, which are then further decorated with sweets and icing. The tradition of cutting gingerbread into shapes takes many other forms, and exists in many countries, a well-known example being the gingerbread man. Traditionally, these were dunked in port wine.
* In the Nordic countries, the most popular form of ginger confection is the pepperkaker (Norwegian), pepparkakor (Swedish), brunkager (Danish), piparkökur (Icelandic), piparkakut (Finnish) and in the baltic countries piparkūkas (Latvian) or piparkoogid (Estonian). They are thin, very brittle cookies / biscuits that are particularly associated with the extended Christmas period. In Norway and Sweden, pepperkaker/pepparkakor are also used as window decorations, the pepperkaker/pepparkakor are then a little thicker than usual and decorated with glaze and candy. Many families bake pepperkaker/pepparkakor/brunkager as a tradition with their kids. In English, pepperkaker/pepparkakor/brunkager would be referred to as ginger biscuits rather than gingerbread.
* In Switzerland, a gingerbread confection known as “biber” is typically a three-quarter inch thick rectangular gingerbread cake with a marzipan filling. Biber are famously from the cantons of Appenzell or St. Gallen and respective biber are artfully adorned with images of the Appenzell bear or the St. Gallen cathedral by engraving or icing.
* In the Netherlands and Belgium, a soft and crumbly gingerbread called Peperkoek, Kruidkoek or Ontbijtkoek is popularly served at breakfast time or during the day, thickly sliced and often with butter on top.
* Gingerbreads are known in Russia. The most famous gingerbreads there are baked in the ancient cities Tula (Tula gingerbread, Тульский пряник), Vyazma, and Gorodets.
* In Poland, gingerbreads are known as pierniki (singular, piernik). The most famous are called Toruń gingerbread (piernik toruński), a traditional Polish gingerbread that has been produced since the Middle Ages in the city of Toruń. It was a favorite delicacy of Chopin’s when he visited his godfather, Fryderyk Florian Skarbek, in Toruń during one of his school vacations.
* In Romania, gingerbread is called turtă dulce and is usually coated with sugar glazing.
* In Brazil, a type of cake similar to gingerbread is known as pão de mel (“honey bread”), it can be as big as a coffee cake, or bite-sized, and it’s usually coated with chocolate.
* There is also a very popular local variety of gingerbread in Bulgaria. It’s called меденка (“made of honey”). Traditionally the cookie is as big as the palm of the hand, round and flat, covered in a thin layer of chocolate. Other common ingredients include honey, cinnamon, ginger and dried clove.
It is also made in Karakol.

 

 

 

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