Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

gingerbread is a term that applies to a broad category of baked goods flavored with a combination of spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and sweetened with honey, sugar, or molasses. Gingerbreads range from cakes to breads to cookies. Made from batters or doughs, and shaped in many forms, they can be soft or hard, thick or thin, glazed or unglazed, unadorned or decorated with icings, dried or candied fruits, nuts, marzipan, colored paper, or even gold leaf. Gingerbreads are closely associated with the Christmas season in several countries, but in many places they are also eaten year round. Although most gingerbreads are sweet, some are used as an ingredient in savory dishes, such as rich soups and sweet-sour sauces. Slices of gingerbread are often served as an accompaniment to fattened goose liver and duck liver.