There are so many classic flavors for the holiday season—peppermint, eggnog, and, of course, gingerbread. This holiday season, forego the traditional hard and crispy gingerbread cookies and go for something nice and chewy instead.
History of Gingerbread Cookies
The history of gingerbread starts with the plant, ginger root. Native to southeast Asia, ginger root was often used for medicinal purposes in ancient China. With the development of the Silk Road, ginger came to Europe where it was also used for medical cures and disease prevention. Besides its health-related purposes, ginger was also used as to spice up a typical meal.
The first known recipe for gingerbread dates back to 2400BC in Greece, but other recipes were also found in China and Europe. The more traditional gingerbread that we are familiar with now (hard cookies with decorative elements) dates back to Medieval times. Over the years, the scale of gingerbread decoration has escalated. In the 1500s, Queen Elizabeth I created a buzz by commissioning gingerbread in the shape of her visiting dignitaries. In 2013, the Texas A&M Traditions Club built the largest gingerbread house (60 feet long, 42 feet wide, and 10.1 feet tall).
Though delicious, many people skip making gingerbread cookies during the holidays. It can be a tiring process—cutting and decorating the gingerbread men or assembling the gingerbread houses. If you’re interested in enjoying delicious and simple gingerbread cookies, try the recipe listed below. It tastes yummy with a cup of cocoa or eggnog.
Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
(Recipe from Betty Crocker)
- 1 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) of molasses
- 2 1/2 cups of flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of coarse, kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of ground cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoons of ground allspice
- 2/3 cup of sugar
- In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Stir in remaining ingredients except for granulated sugar. Cover; refrigerate at least two hours.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with cooking parchment paper or silicone baking mat. In a small bowl, place granulated sugar. Shape dough into one-inch balls; roll in sugar. On cookie sheets, place balls two inches apart.
- Bake eight to ten minutes or just until set and soft in the center. Cool two minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Store tightly covered up to one week.
Bonus. Looking for a sweet holiday treat that your pets will enjoy? We’ve got you covered! You can make homemade gingerbread dog biscuits for your beloved Figo. Or if you’re looking for a yummy treat for your cat Fluffy, try these homemade chicken and cranberry treats.