As Christmas is approaching the smell of spices and Christmas cooking is in the air gingerbread springs to mind and antique gingerbread moulds. Some antique gingerbread moulds are little pictures in their own right, carved beautifully from a variety of woods, box wood, elm and sycamore being the most popular. Popular themes include Punch and Judy, St Nicholas, hearts etc. Some moulds are double sided and these antique biscuit moulds are known as cards.
Recipes from the 17th century for gingerbread were based on old bread crumbs, no eggs, butter or flour were used. The mixture was not even baked in an oven, the only cooking they had was a pre cook boiling. These gingerbread were then left toset, sometimes near a fire. By the 18th century the recipe appears to have improved dramatically and treacle and flour replaced bread crumbs in the London area but more traditional bread crumb recipes lingered on in the north. Today thank goodness we can enjoy gingerbread made with an array of tasty ingredients, so spare a thought to the people in the 17th century when you tuck into your gingerbread this Christmas.