Gingerbread is a sweet that can take the form of a cake or a cookie in which the predominant flavors are ginger and raw sugar.


Gingerbread was brought to Europe by the Crusaders.

The first recorded mention of gingerbread being baked in the town dates back to 1793; however, it was probably made earlier as ginger was stocked in high street businesses from the 1640s. Gingerbread became widely available in the 1700s. [ [ food humor Gingerbread Throughout History ] ] [ [ The History of Gingerbread ] ]

The town of Market Drayton in Shropshire is known as the "home of gingerbread" and this is proudly decreed on the welcome sign.

Originally, the term "gingerbread" (from Latin "zingiber" via Old French "gingebras") referred to preserved ginger, then to a confection made with honey and spices. "Gingerbread" is often translated into French as "pain d'épices" (literally bread of spices). "Pain d'épices" is a French pastry also made with honey and spices, but not crispy.


As a cookie, gingerbread can be made into a thin, crisp cookie (often called a ginger snap) or a softer cookie similar to the German Lebkuchen. Gingerbread cookies are often cut into shapes, particularly gingerbread men. Traditionally it was dunked in port.

A variant dough is used to build gingerbread houses à la the "witch's house" encountered by Hansel and Gretel. These houses, covered with a variety of candies and icing, are popular Christmas decorations, typically built by children with the help of their parents.

Another variant uses a boiled dough that can be molded like clay to form inedible statuettes or other decorations. A significant form of popular art in Europe,Fact|date=September 2007 major centers of gingerbread mould carving included Lyon, Nürnberg, Pest, Prague, Pardubice, Pulsnitz, Ulm, and Toruń. Gingerbread moulds often displayed the "news", showing carved portraits of new kings, emperors, and queens, for example.Fact|date=September 2007 Substantial mould collections are held at the Ethnographic Museum in Toruń, Poland and the Bread Museum in Ulm, Germany.

The cake form tends to be a dense, treaclely (molasses-based) spice cake. Some recipes add mustard, pepper, raisins, nuts, and/or other spices/ingredients to the batter. In one variation, the cake omits raisins or nuts and is served with warm lemon sauce. In the United States, the cake is more often served in the winter, particularly at Christmastime.

ee also

*Gingerbread man
* Gingerbread House example - Victorian Architecture


External links

* []
* [ Making Gingerbread cookies]
* [ recipes]
* [ Historical gingerbread recipes]
* [ Nürnberg Gingerbread] history and folklore
* [ gingerbread structures]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gingerbread — Gin ger*bread , n. A kind of plain sweet cake seasoned with ginger, and sometimes made in fanciful shapes. Gingerbread that was full fine. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] {Gingerbread tree} (Bot.), the doom palm; so called from the resemblance of its… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • gingerbread — ► NOUN ▪ cake made with treacle or syrup and flavoured with ginger. ● take the gilt off the gingerbread Cf. ↑take the gilt off the gingerbread …   English terms dictionary

  • gingerbread — ● gingerbread nom masculin (anglais gingerbread) Pain d épice anglais aromatisé au gingembre …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • gingerbread — late 13c., gingerbrar, from O.Fr. ginginbrat ginger preserve, from M.L. gingimbratus gingered, from gingiber (see GINGER (Cf. ginger)). The ending changed by folk etymology to brede bread, a formation attested by mid 14c. Originally preserved… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Gingerbread — a British organization which provides support and practical help for single parents and their children …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • gingerbread — [jin′jər bred΄] n. [ME ginge bred, altered (after bred, BREAD) < gingebras, preserved ginger, ginger pudding < OFr gingembraz < gingibre < ML gingiber, GINGER] 1. a) a cake flavored with ginger and molasses b) a kind of cookie cut… …   English World dictionary

  • gingerbread — [13] The idea that gingerbread does not much resemble bread is entirely justified by the word’s history. For originally it was gingebras (a borrowing from Old French), and it meant ‘preserved ginger’. By the mid 14th century, by the process known …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • gingerbread — [13] The idea that gingerbread does not much resemble bread is entirely justified by the word’s history. For originally it was gingebras (a borrowing from Old French), and it meant ‘preserved ginger’. By the mid 14th century, by the process known …   Word origins

  • gingerbread — noun Date: 15th century 1. a cake whose ingredients include molasses and ginger 2. [from the fancy shapes and gilding formerly often applied to gingerbread] lavish or superfluous ornament especially in architecture • gingerbread adjective •… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • gingerbread — gingerbready, adj. /jin jeuhr bred /, n. 1. a type of cake flavored with ginger and molasses. 2. a rolled cookie similarly flavored, often cut in fanciful shapes, and sometimes frosted. 3. elaborate, gaudy, or superfluous architectural… …   Universalium

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