I remember the first time I came across gingerbread cookies. I was in middle school and my mom brought a batch home that her coworker gave to her as a gift. Opening the package revealed a bunch of fancy looking shapes with intricately detailed icing on each cookie.
According to the the Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion by Herbst and Herbst, gingerbread cookies date back to the Middle Ages when the women gave them to knights going into tournament battles. The book doesn’t really explain why, but I’m going to guess it was to encourage their knight to win or it was a token of luck.
Gingerbread cookies are different from your typical sweet cookie. It’s not just flour, sugar and butter. Rather, it’s a cookie with added spices like ginger, nutmeg, cloves, molasses, etc. One of the most iconic gingerbread cookie shapes is the gingerbread man with a simple happy face. However, there is also the gingerbread house which many buy pre-made kits to assemble.While I can no longer find the original recipe for those gingerbread cookies my mom’s coworker shared, at least it’s easy enough to find at local cafés during the holidays. 🙂