Sierra Summit

History of Gingerbread Houses

Hayley Withrow, Editor

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Gingerbread, a popular holiday treat that we’ve all probably had many times. But where does it come from?

The first gingerbread house recorded was from Greece around 2400 BC. But, it became popular for people to make regularly in the 16th century. Germany was really the birthplace of gingerbread houses, they gained their popularity after Hansel and Gretel was published. Gingerbread made into shapes were popular at Medieval fairs in places like France, Holland, and England.

One of the first recipes for gingerbread consisted of ground almonds, bread crumbs, rosewater, sugar, and ginger. Nowadays, that recipe is completely different, with vanilla, butter, flour, sugar, ginger, etc.

The world fell in love with gingerbread, so much so it became a contest to build the biggest one. The world record for the largest gingerbread house was set in Bryan, Texas, and was about the size of a tennis court with 21 foot high ceilings. But the more average size is under a foot.

Recipe for gingerbread men

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup of butter (softened)
  • ¾ cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Rest the dough in the fridge for 4 hours, then bake for 8-10 minutes at 350

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History of Gingerbread Houses