A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gingerbread History and a story

Gingerbread has a long history starting in Europe. I have always loved the story of the gingerbread man, It was read to me as a child and I passed the story on to my kids.
The gingerbread man often had a gingerbread house to live in, with gingerbread animals, trees, and decorations made from candies and icing. Especially in Germany, gingerbread Christmas decorations are often quite elaborate, stemming from a 16th century tradition of fanciful gingerbread creations, popularized by Grimm's Fairy Tales and the story of Hansel and Gretel. In the 17th century, Nuremberg, Germany, became known as the gingerbread capital, thanks to the elaborate gingerbread scenes that the bakers of that city would create, which included complex gingerbread houses, animals, and people decorated with gold leaf, foil, and other decorations. The gingerbread man probably reached his peak during this period, when only professional gingerbread bakers were supposed to make gingerbread, except during the Christmas season when the rules were relaxed.

The Recipe:
To make gingerbread men, cream 2/3 cup butter, ½ cup brown sugar, one teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, two teaspoons ground ginger, and a pinch of salt. Add one egg, mix, and then add ¾ cup molasses and mix again to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Sift three cups flour, ½ teaspoon baking power, and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and chill the resulting dough for one hour, before rolling out in a ¼ inch thick sheet.
Using a cookie cutter or a knife, cut out the gingerbread men and transfer to a nonstick baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before decorating.

Of course you know me ... I have a story to go with this. One year my young son was sick with a bad cold. He was starting to feel better, but still couldn't go to school. The house was steamy with the humidifier going. I decided to entertain him by making gingerbread boys. We got out all the utensils and mixed them and shaped them and baked them. I decided to put a hole in the top of some of their heads with a drinking straw. After they cooled, I put red ribbon through the hole and hung them across the wide doorway into the dining room. They looked so cute. We ate some and then hung some on the Christmas tree. (Remember the humidifier was humming.) Our dog, Scruffy, laid under those cookies all evening. I was in the kitchen, starting to tidy up to get ready for bed and I heard a noise. It sounded like Scruffy was eating something. I investigated and saw nothing. Then after leaving the room...I heard it again. Still nothing. I sat on the couch to watch the news and then out of the corner of my eye I saw a gingerbread man fall and Scruffy made a bee line for it. The humidity had softened the cookies and they were falling. Scruffy just laid there and waited. It was her best Christmas. Yum!!


Teri C said...

I enjoyed looking through your blog.

I see you are in northern Ill. so I know you are watching for snow. I spend the winter in AZ and the summers in central Wisconsin. We are almost neighbors :)

OhioMom said...

That dog was one smart cookie! My two cats, Scruffy and Meggie, would climb up the center of the Christmas tree and ring the little bell ornaments, and then come leaping out of the middle of a branch bringing lights and ornaments scattering ... :)

Loved the gingerbread story :)

Balisha said...

Hi Teri,
We have some mutual interests... art and poetry.I enjoy looking through your blog too. Snowy day today,so I am going to work on a painting for a Christmas gift.

Hi O'Mom...you are so clever...."Smart cookie"
I had a Siamese Cat who would climb the tree and lie on a branch in the middle.