Christmas homemade gingerbread cookies

Happy National Gingerbread Man Day! For years we have enjoyed these delicious holiday treats without ever wondering where they came from, or who first decided to shape a cookie into a man. But, today is the day that we uncover the mystery behind the elusive cookie and share this bite of history (and some yummy recipes) with all of you!


The Birth of the Gingerbread Man

While cooking with ginger can be traced back to ancient China, and gingerbread houses can be attributed to the German culture, gingerbread men were first introduced during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I during the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth was known for her lavish royal dinners, commonly including elaborately shaped food and desserts. So, it comes as no surprise that Queen Elizabeth had her very own royal gingerbread maker that specialized in creating gingerbread men to represent foreign dignitaries at her banquets.

These gingerbread men were later used by folk-medicine practitioners, commonly known as witches or magicians. The cookies were created as love tokens for young women to use on men- if the chosen man ate the gingerbread, he would fall in love with the young woman.

So how did these royal, magical gingerbread men end up as a common Christmas treat? Not only were spices believed to warm you up in the winter, but the people of old England used to give one another “fairings” or presents during the holidays that were usually gingerbread, purchased from local town fairs. Over the years, gingerbread has become a classic symbol of the holidays for many countries, especially the United States.


All of this talk about gingerbread cookies has made us hungry for some gingerbread desserts! Check out these delicious recipes that we found below:


Classic Gingerbread Man Cookies

You can’t go wrong with the classic cookie itself! Try out this recipe for traditional gingerbread men cookies, complete with a royal icing recipe for decoration. Need some creative ideas when it comes time to decorate your cookies? Watch this video for inspiration!


Gingerbread Ice Cream

For the same gingerbread flavors without the crunch of a cookie, try this recipe for Gingerbread Ice Cream. Creamy and smooth, this ice cream is a delicious change from tradition.

Gingerbread 7-Layer Bars

This recipe for Gingerbread 7-Layer Bars is perfect for any upcoming holiday party. These bars include all of the best holiday flavors with decadent layers of soft gingerbread cookie, vanilla chips, pecans, dried cranberries and coconut flakes.


As you prepare for the holiday season, stop by your local Sparkle Market for all of the quality ingredients you’ll need to make any and all of your gingerbread recipes!