Looking for a great way to make Gingerbread Cookies this holiday season?
Tis almost the season for gingerbread cookies, a Christmas tradition. We think of “traditional” Christmas flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, and those are exactly the same spices medieval cooks would have used in their cookies ages ago. Gingerbread is a classic Christmas cookie, and yet it’s also a cookie that would have tasted strikingly similar back in the Middle Ages.
Winter solstice festivals have been held for eons, across the world. From Norway to West Africa, Ireland to India, groups of people gathered to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Celebrations revolved around food; after all, you had to feast before the famine of the winter.
By the Middle Ages, the Christmas holiday had overtaken solstice rituals throughout much of present-day Europe. The old feast traditions remained. And while the roast and drink recipes were probably quite similar to what earlier Europeans had enjoyed, the pastry world was experiencing some amazing changes. Spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper were just starting to be widely used, and dried exotic fruits like citron, apricots and dates added sweetness and texture to the dessert tray. These items, along with ingredients like sugar and butter, would have been prized as expensive delicacies by medieval cooks. Only on the most important holiday could families afford treats like these, which led to a baking bonanza to prepare for Christmas. And unlike pies or cakes, cookies could be easily shared and given to friends and neighbors. Our modern Christmas cookies date back to these medieval gifts.
Festive and fun gingerbread cookies are what we are baking today. These gingerbread men are crisp on the outside , soft on the inside and packed with ginger and everything Christmas.
love, k 🙂