Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

gingerbread a product which is always spiced, and normally with ginger, but which varies considerably in shape and texture. Some modern British gingerbreads are so crisp that they might qualify to be called ginger biscuits. Others are definitely cake-like.

In the recent past many British towns had their gingerbread specialities whose recipes are still known. Examples are Ashbourne (a ‘white’ gingerbread) and Ormskirk (a ‘dark’ one). Some Scottish gingerbreads resemble shortbread, e.g. the Edinburgh speciality which was known as parliament cake (or ‘parlies’) in the 19th century. A thin crisp gingerbread, it is made with treacle and brown sugar, cut into squares after baking; it is thought to be so called because it was eaten by the members of the Scottish Parliament.