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Gingerbread cookies have soft and chewy insides with a hint of a crispy outside and often they are decorated with piped frosting. National Gingerbread Cookie Day aims to appreciate and enjoy everything related to this unassuming but fantastic little cookie! 

When the Crusaders brought ginger back from the Middle East, they likely had no idea that this gnarly root would ultimately wind up being such an important part of Christmas baking traditions.

Some stories reveal that gingerbread arrived in Europe sometime around the 10th century when Gregory of Nicopolis, an Armenian monk, invested some time in teaching French bakers how to make it. Gingerbread was a sturdy little cake that was sometimes even used in religious ceremonies.

Gingerbread has developed throughout history since that time, starting out as something that was not so sweet as it is today. The gingerbread man cookie seems to have been an idea of Queen Elizabeth I, or at least some of her baking staff. During her reign in the 16th century, Elizabeth threw a party and her chefs created gifts in the form of gingerbread men that resembled each of her important guests.

Since that time, recipes for gingerbread cookies have continued to evolve, turning into something that is a bit less “bread” and a lot more cookie!

One tradition surrounding gingerbread man cookies is that young women used to have folk medicine practitioners create a gingerbread man for them. She would give it to the man she wanted to marry and, if she could get him to eat it, he would be hers forever!

Perhaps gingerbread man cookies don’t still have that kind of power in today’s modern world, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a day devoted just to them. And that’s what National Gingerbread Cookie Day is all about!

National Gingerbread Cookie Day Timeline

11th Century

Crusaders bring ginger back

After their adventures in the Middle East, the Crusaders bring ginger back to Europe.[1]

16th Century

Queen Elizabeth has gingerbread men made

As gifts given out at a celebration, the queen has gingerbread made into men that resemble the guests of the party. [2]

1805

First recorded mention of ginger snaps

While gingerbread cookies are a bit softer, ginger snaps contain very similar ingredients. [3]

2009

World’s Largest Gingerbread Man Cookie

Weighing over 1400 pounds, the world’s largest gingerbread man cookie is made in Oslo, Norway by the staff of an IKEA store. [4]

2019

Hello! 100 Gingerbread Cookie Recipes: Best Gingerbread Cookbook Ever is written by Mr. Dessert.[5]

National Gingerbread Cookie Day comes with all sorts of opportunities to enjoy and celebrate this delicious day! Consider some of these fun and yummy ideas to get started in planning your celebration:

Enjoy Eating Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookies are delicious and are especially enjoyable when eaten in the cooler autumn months. Their warm mix of ginger, cinnamon and other spices means that National Gingerbread Cookie Day offers a whole lot of comfort on a cool November Day. And they can be enjoyed with a big glass of milk or a warm cup of spiced tea, based on what kind of festive mood strikes.

Choose a local bakery that will be carrying gingerbread cookies during this season and order some ahead or just pick them up on the day as a way to celebrate! Perhaps they will even offer a discount or deal in honor of the day.

Try Making Gingerbread Cookies at Home

November is a great month for baking as the weather cools and the days get shorter. National Gingerbread Cookie Day is a great time to get that oven preheated and ready to mix, roll, cut and bake those sweet little gingerbread cookies. Perhaps a special recipe has been handed down from grandma or an aunt but, if not, it’s fairly easy to make a quick search and find some fairly simple and accessible gingerbread cookie recipes online.

Have some fun making them by using a variety of different styles of cookie cutters in a bunch of unique shapes. Of course, there are the classic gingerbread man and gingerbread woman shapes that are always popular. But other appropriate shapes for the season might include hearts, leaves, trees and simple circles.

Learn Some Fun Facts About Gingerbread Cookies

Have tons of fun on National Gingerbread Cookie Day by learning various bits of trivia that can be shared with friends, family members or coworkers. Here are some bits of information about gingerbread cookies to get started with:

  • The first cookbook published in the US, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, contained three different recipes for gingerbread.

  • According to Swedish folk tradition, gingerbread man cookies hold magical powers for making wishes.

  • The Gingerbread Boy was a story that appeared in St. Nicholas Magazine in 1875.

  • One record for the world’s largest gingerbread man cookie was set by the IKEA staff in Oslo, Norway in 2009.

With gingerbread cookies that are made ahead of time, a fun activity in celebration of National Gingerbread Cookie Day would be to hold a gingerbread cookie decorating contest. Get ready ahead of time by having the necessary supplies like frosting of various colors, piping bags, and various decorations like nonpareils, sprinkles, or edible glitter.

The decorating contest can be low-key and simply among family members at home, or it could be on a grander scale where friends, neighbors or classmates are invited to attend and special prizes are given out to the winners. This could turn into a special celebration, perhaps even becoming an annual event that draws people in the community together based on their love of gingerbread cookies.

Plus, this is a great time to get practice in for the day that’s coming up next month – Gingerbread Decorating Day! 

Share Gingerbread Cookies

One of the most fun parts of baking and decorating gingerbread cookies is not just eating them yourself, but sharing them with others! When baking for a special observance like National Gingerbread Cookie Day, it’s best to make an extra batch to give away.

Take some decorated gingerbread cookies to neighbors, school teachers, or family members. Perhaps even make some up to take into the office to share with coworkers. A gingerbread cookie is sure to bring delight to anyone who receives one!

Many people have special gingerbread cookie recipes that have been handed down through generations. National Gingerbread Cookie Day would be a fun time to gather a few different friends who are proud of their recipes and see which one is the best!

National Gingerbread Cookie Day FAQs

Can dogs eat gingerbread cookies?

A small piece of gingerbread cookie will not hurt your pet the way chocolate might, but it’s not part of a pet’s healthy diet.[1]

Can you freeze gingerbread cookies?

Sure! Gingerbread cookies freeze well and can stay frozen for up to six months. [2]

How to make gingerbread cookies easy? 

Gingerbread cookies can be made from a basic cookie recipe that adds molasses, cinnamon and ginger.[3]

Where did gingerbread cookies originate?

The first gingerbread man cookies are credited to Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. [4]

Do gingerbread cookies go bad?

Gingerbread cookies can last 2-3 weeks at room temperature and 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. [5]

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