Gingerbread cookies are deliciously spiced, soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
But have you wondered how gingerbread cookies came about and why we eat them during Christmas?
Read on to find out more on the history and some tips on how you can make your gingerbread cookie taste great.
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History Of Gingerbread Cookies
The tradition of making decorated gingerbread cookies started in the 1800s in Germany.
They were manufactured into two styles: a soft form called Lebkuchen and a harder version which is associated with carnivals and street markets that occur in many German towns.
The soft gingerbread cookies are cake-like and dense, whereas the hard ones are made in different shapes, and then further decorated with icing and sweet flavouring.
During the winter months, the gingerbread cookies would be decorated extravagantly and shaped into hearts, stars, or even reindeers especially at Christmas.
Traditionally, German bakers would also dunk the cookies into wine and hang them from the trees as decoration.
Why Do People Eat Gingerbread Cookies During Christmas?
Gingerbread cookies are well loved for their taste and texture, especially with their intoxicating mix of spices and chewy textures.
The habit of eating gingerbread cookies during Christmas soon became a staple as many saw them as unique gifts.
Many also decorated their Christmas trees with gingerbread men or houses, leading to an increase in their popularity.
Others however, believe gingerbread was eaten due to the calming influence of ginger – a key ingredient amidst the festive feasting!
Besides, the warm and inviting flavours also made the gingerbread cookies perfect for tea-time treats!
What Are Gingerbread Cookies Made Of?
A gingerbread cookie is a snack or dessert that is often eaten during Christmas.
It is made of sweetened honey, brown sugar, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt, butter, milk and molasses.
Types Of Gingerbread Cookies
The most common version, the gingerbread man is a gingerbread cookie shaped as a human being.
It’s often decorated with eyes, mouth, eyebrows and buttons, and was especially popularised from the children’s story of the same name.
Photo by Diliara Garifullina
Gingerbread snowflakes are star-like in shape and decorated symmetrically to resemble ice crystals.
What Is The Ideal Gingerbread Cookie Texture?
The ideal gingerbread cookie has edges that are fairly crispy.
Yet it should also have a semi-soft, cake-like texture.
A good gingerbread cookie must also be sweet but have a hint of spice.
Gingerbread Cookie Tips
How can you make your Gingerbread Cookie taste great?
Bake Them On Lower Heat
Since the cookie’s primary sweeteners are brown sugar and molasses, there is a tendency for them to burn faster as compared to those made of refined white sugar.
To achieve better results, bake your gingerbread cookies at 162°C, as this ensures its soft centers and crisp edges.
Although 180°C tends to be the universal oven temperature for most cookies, the texture and appearance of gingerbread developed best under a slightly lower heat.
Rest The Dough Before Rolling And Cutting
Give your dough at least two hours of rest, or even overnight, in the fridge after making it.
The dough is a lot easier to work with after being chilled and there is a lesser chance of it sticking to your rolling pin or countertop.
The flavours are also more developed when in the fridge and prevents the cookies from overspreading in the oven.
Roll Your Dough Evenly
It is recommended to place two rulers on either side of your rolling space, to stick to the same thickness all the way through the rolling process.
Uniform thickness is important to ensure that the cookies are baked evenly for a consistent flavour and texture.
Let The Cookies Cool Before Decorating
Always let the gingerbread cookies cool down before adding any decorations.
This is to prevent the icing from melting all over the cookies and not being able to firm up.
Where To Buy Gingerbread Cookies In Singapore?
December is approaching and we know that many of you are searching for Christmas snacks this festive season!
If you don’t want to bake them yourself, you can also get these goodies from artisanal bakeries such as La Levain.
You can get these delicious treats now at here or 23 Hamilton Rd and share them with your loved ones to celebrate Christmas together!
Other Popular Christmas Bakes
Christmas stollen is also known as Christstollen, in Germany.
It is a yeast bread that is baked with dried fruits like raisins, nuts, candied citrus peel and spices.
Find out more here.
Pecan Pie is a tart of pecan nuts mixed with a filling of eggs, butter, and sugar.
It has a mixture of sweet, buttery crunch with a savory nutty aftertaste.
Each bite will bring out those comforting memories of the fireplace, family dinners and Christmas stories.
Panettone is recognised for its tall, domed shape appearance.
It is more of a bread than a cake, made of a mixture of sweet dough, candied fruits and raisins.
A panettone is usually expensive due to the amount of preparation time and technique needed to perfect it.