Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You Can't Catch the Gingerbread Man!

We all know the old fairy tale about the Gingerbread Man. He ran away from the grandmother and grandfather whom made and cared for him. Dodging to and fro, he bounced through their farm. His plan for escape was almost perfect...

That is, until a fox swallowed him whole. *GULP!*

This blog post ends on a much happier note, though... I assure you.

One of my favorite treats at Christmas is the Gingerbread Man cookie. It ranks near the top of the most delectable of all holiday foods. Where did the idea of making Gingerbread Men come from, though?

Queen Elizabeth I by Federico Zuccaro (circa 19th Century)

We all owe a big thank you to Queen Elizabeth I, whom ruled over England between 1558 and 1603. She asked that gingerbread cookies be made in the likeness of her court's guests. Thereby, the concept of making human figures out of gingerbread was born!

Gingerbread itself dates back even farther. As early as 992, the Armenian Monk Gregory of Nicopolis is recorded as making gingerbread for the French people. He left Armenia as a pilgrim after being persecuted by the Persians. Once in France, he lived as a hermit. Occasionally, he was allowed by local church leaders to prepare a meal, to which he would always serve Gingerbread as the dessert. Thus, Gregory's legend grew, as did the praise for Gingerbread!

Since the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the Gingerbread Man has been a staple at Christmas. So festive and cute; the tiny brown bundle of tasty joy is so easy to create and decorate. Give him a hat and slippers... buttons and a petticoat... or just slather him in icing and take a bite. There's no wrong way to dress down and consume a Gingerbread Man. There are even ways to preserve a Gingerbread Man and turn it into an ornament for your Christmas tree!

As a bonus for my readers, I happen to have a simple, easy to complete Gingerbread Man recipe right here!


  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 ~ 1/2 cup of water if your dough seems a little dry (optional)
Mix the flower, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt, then set aside. Mix butter and brown sugar together until soft. Add the egg, vanilla extract and molasses to this. Next, slowly incorporate the dry flour mixture you set aside at the beginning. Mix it all very well. Then, press it into a large cookie pan lined with plastic wrap. Make sure you leave it fairly thick when pressing it out. Let it refrigerate for at least four to five hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Roll your gingerbread dough about a 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Now is the time to use cookie cutters in the shape of people to make your Gingerbread Men! Place your cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Let the cookies bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Your edges should be firm, but the interior should still be chewy and somewhat soft.

It's best to let the cookies cool on a wire rack. Once they're cool, you can decorate them with frosting, gumdrops, etc. GO WILD!

Finally... shove those little bundles of joy in your face!

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