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How Many Calories in Gingerbread?

Christmas is known as being the season of indulgence. And thought I'm pretty good about ignoring my cravings the rest of the year, the Christmas cookies always seem to get me. I should really implement a ban on people baking me cookies for the season, but to be honest, I like the occasional indulgence.

And one of my favourite holiday cookies are freshly baked gingerbread cookies, especially when they have little buttons made of icing. They're delicious without being too sweet -- perfecto!

So, I'm curious ...

How many calories are in one gingerbread cookie?

1. 20
2. 90
3. 120
4. 200

The answer is 90 calories -- not bad! But keep in mind that this is for one cookie. If you're the type who tends to shovel away 5 of them, you're looking at 450 calories -- yikes! Stay away.

The number if also higher if you opt for another popular ginger cookie -- gingersnaps. Gingersnaps can have around 120 calories in each cookie. They're higher in sugar and fat, which isn't surprising, considering how sweet and chewy they tend to be. Like I said, they won't ruin your diet -- unless you eat a dozen of them.

Delicious Gingerbread for a Happy Holiday

Baking and Decorating Gingerbread at Christmas and Thanksgiving

Gingerbread is everywhere over the holiday season but there is no reason to buy at the store. This recipe yields homemade cookies that are divine fresh out of the oven.

As winter approaches, certain cookies make their appearance on store shelves. Once of these is gingerbread, which comes in many forms and textures. Once baked, there is almost no end of possibilities for decoration. Gingerbread men are probably the most popular shape for this cookie but some creative bakeries also produce entire gingerbread houses as well as other Christmas-themed shapes.

Gingerbread Recipes in Europe
Ginger made its way from the Middle East to Europe by way of 11th century crusaders. The resulting ‘bread’ found popularity as the spice became more affordable although early European recipes were a far cry from modern day cookies, consisting of ground almonds and stale breadcrumbs amongst other ingredients.

The biscuit that we now associate with Christmas and winter holidays now exists in various forms, from the very thin and crispy ginger snaps to the softer German Lebkuchen cookies. This recipe is similar to the recipe for Parkin, a ginger cake recipe that originated in the north of England. It uses golden syrup rather than the black treacle needed for the cake and produces a soft, dense and wonderfully spicy gingerbread that goes perfectly with a cup of tea or glass of hot mulled wine.

Ingredients and Recipe for 12 Large Gingerbread Men
  • 350g / 120oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 100g / 4oz butter
  • 175g / 6oz light soft brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Currants, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, icing sugar – to decorate

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and allspice together in a large bowl
  3. Rub in the butter by hand until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
  4. Stir in the sugar
  5. Beat the golden syrup with the egg then stir in thoroughly
  6. Knead by hand until dough is smooth and holds together
  7. Divide in half and roll out onto a very lightly floured surface to 5mm / 1/4 inch thickness (for thinner cookies, reduce the cooking time)
  8. Cut shapes as desired
  9. Place onto lightly greased baking sheets
  10. Decorate with currants, chopped cranberries and chocolate chips
  11. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden
  12. Cool on a wire rack

After Baking, Decorate Cookies with Icing
If using icing, mix icing sugar with a very small amount of water to form a very stiff mixture before piping onto the gingerbread. Food colouring can also be added to the icing sugar to create different patterns.

Ideally a piping bag should be used but to create a very rudimentary bag, make a very small cut across the corner of a small Ziploc or food bag and push the icing into the bag with a spoon. The icing mixture must be very stiff so it doesn’t run during the piping process.

Alternatively icing sugar in powder form can be sifted over gingerbread.

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