In the cold season, the gingerbread is back in our supermarket shelves. With its unmistakable scent, it is an integral part of our Christmas season. If you have time, you should make one of the many different gingerbread pastries yourself. Finished spice mixtures make it easier for the hobby baker to make the typical gingerbread taste.
A touch of exoticism at Christmas time
Many different spices from the Orient such as star anise, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, coriander, ginger, cloves, allspice and mace (mace) characterize the typical gingerbread spice mixture. Hence the term "gingerbread", which is still used today in East Germany. It dates back to the Middle Ages, when all exotic spices were commonly referred to as "pepper".
The ready-made spice mixtures also contain shares of fennel and orange and lemon peels. The latter are as Orangeat and Zitronat another baking ingredient for gingerbread dough. In addition to these citrus fruit shells, hazelnuts (for example from Turkey), walnuts (for example from France), almonds (for example from California), honey, marzipan and chocolate (cocoa from West Africa, for example) also belong in the gingerbread dough. The gingerbread is truly a pastry with ingredients from all over the world!
Gingerbread types and variants
There are a variety of ways to make this classic Christmas cookies. One finds gingerbread with more or less nuts, with jam filling, chocolate coating or frosting. On Christmas markets the popular gingerbread hearts are offered, and in the pre-Christmas period in many households, the typical crunchy or gingerbread houses from the fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel".
The gingerbread is characterized by the fact that it is baked without yeast. Hirschhornsalz or potash is traditionally used as the driving medium. Gingerbread is usually baked on wafers and has been known since the 14th century, especially in the area around Nuremberg. At that time the "Lebzelter" were due to the necessary for this pastry spices (Gingerbread baker) especially at major commercial hubs. So the Nuremberg gingerbread is still very well known today. The Elisen gingerbread has the highest quality level. There are also, for example, the Aachen Printen, the Basel treats and the Pulsnitzer gingerbread.
Acrylamide in gingerbread
When the gingerbread is baked with staghorn salt, this pastry is often heavily contaminated with the cancerous acrylamide. But there are also gingerbread cookies in which hardly any acrylamide can be detected. Before buying, you should therefore make smart, which gingerbread is recommended. A look at the ingredient list is often helpful.
In addition, the European Union has legislated that food manufacturers will be more stringent in their production from April 2018. For example, products must not be overheated.
Ingredients for about 20 gingerbread
- 200 g of sugar
- 1 packet of vanilla sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- one pinch of grated nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cardamom
- 200 g of ground almonds
- 50 g of orange precipitate
- 75 g of citric acid
- grated peel of half a lemon
- 300 g of flour
- 1 coated tsp baking powder
- 20 baking wafers (diameter 70 mm)
- Almonds or hazelnuts for decoration
Beat the eggs with the sugar and the vanilla sugar in a bowl until frothy. Mix the flour with the baking powder and place on a baking board. Press in a depression in the middle and add the egg-sugar mixture there. Knead with the flour and then add the almonds, the candied orange, lemon and spices. If you like it easier, you can fall back on a ready gingerbread spice mixture.
Process everything into a thick pulp that is slightly sticky. Roll out small balls and press on the wafers. The dough must be spread about it finger-thick. Decorate wafers with almonds or nuts and bake at 180º C for 25 to 30 minutes in the oven.