Back in the Middle Ages, creative cooks brightened their kitchens with a culinary creation eventually dubbed "gingerbread." They fashioned the dough into shapes with carved boards, but chefs today use cookie cutters in all shapes and sizes when baking this festive holiday treat. The perfect combination of sweet and spicy, gingerbread is made with molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.
Gingerbread can also be made into festive miniature houses in celebration of the holiday season. In fact, the art form is so popular that gingerbread house contests are held all over the world. After all, who wouldn't like to compete in a contest where the necessary materials are a collection of the best-available gingerbread, icing, gumdrops and other candies? Try this gingerbread recipe for a dessert that even Hansel and Gretel couldn't resist.
The most successful gingerbread chef follows a few standard rules. First, before rolling out the dough, be sure to chill it in the refrigerator. Also, apply a little bit of flour to your work surface, rolling pin and cookie cutters to prevent the dough from sticking. Be sure to cool the cookies completely before decorating, after which you should give them about two hours for the decorations to set properly [source: Carter].