Had I but one penny in the world, thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread. - William Shakespeare (Love’s Labour’s Lost)
Gingerbread has been around since ancient times, but the first gingerbread man is credited to Queen Elizabeth I. She presented visiting dignitaries with their likeness baked in gingerbread. It can also take many other forms such as a dark, spicy cake.
For as long as I can remember, gingerbread in some form has been part of my Christmas. When I was a child, my Mom always baked gingerbread men, which she decorated with white royal icing. Later, I would bake different kinds of gingerbread cookies for my family, including chocolate gingerbread men.
Now, my younger daughter puts together a gingerbread house with my grandsons each year. It has become a holiday tradition in our home. Most of the time the gingerbread house is an all inclusive kit and that makes it much easier and more fun for everyone.
The boys will usually help for a while and they have fun placing the candies on the house. When they have tired of decorating the gingerbread house, they move on to another activity leaving their Aunt Cynthia to finish the job. This year the construction turned out to be a little tricky, since the icing took so long to set that the roof and various candies kept sliding off.
We like to display our gingerbread house over the holidays, so of course it gets too stale to eat, but the boys enjoy breaking it up and eating a few of the candies on the first day of the new year. Maybe I’ll try making some gingerbread snowflake cookies this year so that we can have some edible gingerbread.
And for a little trivia, did you know that a gingerbread house was made in Poland that was 11 1/2 feet high. Think that’s big - it didn’t come close to the World's Largest Gingerbread House built by Roger Pelcher in 2006 at Mall of America in Minnesota. It was more than 67 feet tall and 1,496 square feet. Over 14,000 pounds of gingerbread was used in the construction.