Baking History 101: Gingerbread Cookie

One of the things I love about baking is that it is one big experiment, which means there’s always something to learn. I believe looking back at what other bakers have learned throughout history can make me a better baker too!

On today’s episode, I’m feeling a little spicy, so let’s talk about gingerbread. Food historians have traced this spiced dessert back to Greek recipes dating as far back as 2400 B.C.E., making it one of the oldest cookies known to humankind.

When I think of gingerbread cookies, I think of gingerbread men, but people didn’t bake these cookies into decorative shapes until around the Middle Ages. Monks started carving images of saints into the cookies to hand out to feed the hungry. In the 10th century, an Armenian Monk fled to France where he introduced the treat to his community. From there, his handmade cookies spread throughout Europe. Eventually, gingerbread became popular with royalty. It was actually Queen Elizabeth I who decided to decorate the cookie the way we do today.

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