I love gingerbread! I used to think it was boring, dry, and no fun at all. Why did anyone want to eat a hard, bitter, spicy cookie?
And what in the world does it have to do with Christmas?
Then, I got wiser.
I learned that gingerbread doesn’t have to be dry or crunchy.
That spicy, molasses-y flavor can come in moist and delicious cakes, drink, and yes, even delicious cookies.
I also learned a bit about the lesson of gingerbread at Christmas.
The Spiritual Significance of Gingerbread
“Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:32-35 NIV)
Jesus…a man…who was bread?
“Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. (John 19:40 NIV)
Could a cookie tell the story of who Jesus really was and what he came to be?
Now, baking gingerbread men has become an essential part of our Christmas celebrations. As we mix up the dough, I remind my children of the story. A man of bread, laden with spices, represents Jesus, the Bread of Life, who came in human form, died for our sins, to give us life everlasting.
This is just one of the symbols we recognize and remember among our Christmas symbols. You can read all about them in Prepare Him Room: Cultivating a Christ-Centered Christmas.
As my spiritual appreciation for Gingerbread grew…so did my taste-buds’ appreciation!! Now I’m hooked and want to bake (and make) ALL THE GINGERBREAD!!
The BEST Gingerbread Recipes
From none other, than Ms. Paula Deen herself. If anyone could make a gingerbread cookie delicious, you know it’s Paula Deen. This was the cookie that converted me to a gingerbread aficionado.
They’re not too sweet so you can add all the decorations you want. But they’re also good plain with a cup of coffee.
They aren’t chewy and moist, but they are sure not dry and crisp either. Kind of a dense, bready bite to them. Be careful to roll them to just the right thickness, a smidge thicker than a pencil. And don’t overcook them!
I use parchment paper under them while baking and they come out perfect every time.
For icing, I usually mix powdered sugar with a teensy amount of milk until it’s the right consistency. (Add vanilla or butter flavoring for a little flavor boost.) If your building Gingerbread Houses, you’ll need a stiffer icing, like royal or a loose buttercream.
You’ve been to Jason’s Deli and devoured plate after plate of those yummy little brown muffins, right? A lot of people don’t even realize they are gingerbread because the flavor is so mild. One thing you probably do remember is how moist and flavorful they are!
This recipe is spot on. A perfect substitute for that gingerbread muffin craving and will save you from paying $50 bucks to buy your kids sandwiches they won’t eat since all they really wanted was the organic milk boxes and the gingerbread muffins.
This one popped up in my Facebook feed two days ago. It popped out of my oven yesterday. And it popped into my mouth three times since then.
Pretty much my entire sustenance for the last 24 hours has been Gingerbread Loaf!
It’s the perfect balance between a bread and a cake. Not too sweet, deeply spicy, and full of that molasses-y goodness!
I did make two alterations to the recipe. 1) I didn’t have ground allspice so I subbed nutmeg. Nutmeg and I are good friends, so it was happy to oblige. 2) I needed 2 9×5 loaf pans to bake it all. If I had poured the whole batch into one loaf pan, it might have overflowed.
I did have some trouble with the loaf sticking to the pan, so you might want to line the bottom with waxed paper for easy lift-out.
Here’s a few more gingerbread recipes I can’t wait to try!
Gingerbread Gooey Butter Cookies Look at that crackle on the tops! Crispy, chewy goodness right there!
Award-Winning Gingerbread Cookies Ok, seriously! These look fantastic! I think these are a must-try any time of the year! Wouldn’t they be great in the fall when the first crisp wind blows in?
Maple Glazed Gingerbread Scones I can eat these for breakfast, right? Ok good, glad we’re in agreement about that! Gingerbread Latte Ok, this gal’s got it figured out! The gingerbread latte trumps the better-known PSL (pumpkin spice latte) any day of December. This homemade version looks like the perfect blend!
Gingerbread Waffles Ok, this one is definitely breakfast fare! This would be great on Christmas morning, but I think New Year’s Day would be fun too! The Best Soft Gingerbread Cookies Ok, yes, another cookie recipe, but this one kept calling out to me. Look at that moist, chewy goodness! And the little sugar sprinkles on top! They would add a perfect bit of texture.
Oh man, I can’t decide which to bake next!!
Want to come over and bake all day together? Then we can split up the gingerbread and save a few calories. 🙂
Which one do you want to try first?
I’d love to hear about your family’s Christmas Baking Traditions. Reach out to me and tell me what you do to make sweet-smelling Christmas memories with your family. And if you try one of these recipes, tell me what you think! You can comment below, email me at Christina@gathering-joy.com, or Join the Conversation in our Facebook Group!
SugarPlums and Fresh Snowfall,