The True Tale of the Gingerbread Man

How an Armenian monk brought gingerbread to the West and happiness to children, young and old…

By TERRI BRYCE REEVES

Thank Armenian monk, Gregory Markar of Nicopolis, if you are a gingerbread aficionado. After he was chased out of his homeland by the Persian Army in the 10th century, he arrived in France where he led a simple life, living off wild roots and honey. He became a well-liked holy man in his new country and introduced French Christians to gingerbread, a dark concoction made from honey and spices. The French taught the Germans how to make it, they taught the Swedes and so forth.

When the Brothers Grimm created the tale of Hansel and Gretel, the notion of festive snowy cottages made out of gingerbread became a popular one.

Today gingerbread houses are symbols of the holiday season; December 12 is National Gingerbread House Day.

The 2017 Gingerbread
Festival returns to Westfield
Sarasota Square December 15-17. Gingerbread houses, crafted by more than 150 local schools, youth groups, businesses, and nonprofit
organizations will be on display. Houses on display may be reserved for purchase.

Those wishing to make their own gingerbread palace should check out gingerbread-house-heaven.com which features a variety of recipes, photos and
templates – from the simple to the very elaborate. Be warned: some of these
projects could take up a whole weekend to make.

Not into that kind of herculean effort?

Consider gingerbread kits which have everything you need inside; just assemble and decorate. Or try the recipe below which is easy and fun to make.

Gingerbread Hut Recipe

Graham crackers are the foundation for this project, so
grab the grands for some memorable family time.
Ingredients:
Graham crackers, original or chocolate-flavored (6 per house)
Royal Icing: 3 c. powdered sugar, 2 egg whites, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Paper plates to build on
Assorted candy, sticks of gum, sprinkles, cereal, pretzels.

Directions:
• Make the icing by whipping up the egg whites until frothy. Add the sugar and vanilla and whip for 7 to 9 minutes – until the icing makes stiff peaks. Load icing into a quart-size Ziploc bag. Cut a tiny hole cut in one corner.
• Cut ¼ piece off of the ends of 4 crackers using a serrated knife and gentle pressure. To form two
gable end pieces, take two of those crackers and cut diagonal lines from the long center-line to the
mid-line. You will have two rectangular sides and
two gable ends. The two remaining full-size
crackers will be used for the roof.
• To assemble, pipe a line of icing along the bottom
of one of the rectangular sides and adhere it to a
paper plate. Pipe icing along the bottom and inside
edges of one of the gabled ends and join the two pieces together, carefully sticking the gable panel to the paper plate as well.
• Repeat with other side wall and gable end and you will have the base of your house built. Let the icing set up for 30 minutes.
• Apply icing along the top of the two gable panels and attach the roof.
• Pipe icing along the peak of the roof for extra stability. Allow to dry for at least another 30 minutes; overnight drying is ideal.
• Decorate with icing and your favorite candies or treats.

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