Gingerbread Cookies: A Sweet History and Delicious Recipe

Gingerbread cookies are a classic treat enjoyed around the world, particularly during the holiday season. Their warm spices and molasses flavor create a unique taste that is both comforting and festive. But gingerbread cookies have a rich history that goes beyond just being delicious. 

A History of Spice and Spice Cakes

The origins of gingerbread can be traced back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, where people used ginger and other spices in breads and cakes.  However, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that gingerbread became popular in Europe. Ginger was a valuable spice imported from Asia, and it was often used in medicinal foods and sweet treats. Gingerbread cookies were originally hard and often used as a digestive aid. 

Over time, gingerbread recipes evolved and became softer and sweeter. By the 16th century, gingerbread was a popular treat at fairs and markets. In the 19th century, gingerbread houses became a popular tradition, especially in Germany. 

Gingerbread Today

Today, gingerbread cookies are enjoyed by people of all ages. They are a popular treat for baking at home, and they can be found in bakeries and grocery stores year-round. Gingerbread cookies are also a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of desserts, from cakes and pies to ice cream and milkshakes.

A Classic Recipe

Here is a classic recipe for gingerbread cookies that you can try at home:


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses 
  • 1 large egg 


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg until well combined. 
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. 
  5. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies with desired shapes.
  6. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. 
  7. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 


  • For a chewier cookie, add 1/4 cup applesauce to the dough.
  • You can decorate gingerbread cookies with royal icing, powdered sugar, or melted chocolate. 
  • Gingerbread cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days

Enjoy baking and eating these delicious gingerbread cookies!