Gingerbread House

Pumpkin Bread Favors and our 2015 Haunted Gingerbread House

pumpkin bread

pumpkin bread

 

Happy Fall!  The air is crisp and pumpkins are everywhere.  Last weekend we worked on a wedding with event planner, Rani Hoover, and her bride wanted to give all of the guests at the rehearsal dinner a loaf of pumpkin bread.  The pumpkin bread with the guests name attached was placed on each plate as the place card.  It was the perfect fireside treat to take back to their hotel rooms.  This is a special order item so be sure to call us 24-hours in advance so we can have the pumpkin bread fresh and ready for you to pick up.

 

We’ve also been very busy in the kitchen creating a new 2015 Halloween Gingerbread Haunted House

 

haunted house

haunted house

You can still purchase our Whimsical Halloween House, as well.

 

whimsical house

whimsical house

 

 

 

 

Sweet Love at The Solvang Bakery – Valentine’s Day and Gingerbread Houses

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Love is an emotion we know well at The Solvang Bakery.  Whether we’re putting the finishing touches on an elegant wedding cake for an anxious bride, or icing the words, “I Love You” onto short-dough cookies for a grandmother, we have the pleasure of observing the many flavors of love in our customers’ lives.

This last Christmas, our little shop played host to not one, but two engagements!  One of the couples, Jenn and Rob, have shared their story with us.  Here it is:

“December 8, 2012 will be a day I will never forget and made all the more special by all the lovely ladies at Solvang Bakery. My now fiance schemed with Melissa to create a proposal that was not only special but unique. We built a lovely gingerbread house at the bakery and when we were finished, Melissa thought there was just one thing needed to make the house perfect. She brought out a covered plate concealing a very special cookie with the words ” Will you marry me Jenn?” Of course once I uncovered the message I couldn’t believe what was happening and was completely overjoyed. I eventually said “YES!” after a lot of disbelieving “shut ups” and we are planning a our wedding for late 2013! Thank you so much Melissa and everyone for making this a day Rob and I will never forget!”

jenn and rob engagement - The Solvang Bakery

With Melissa and Billy coming up on 20 years of marriage, and Susan and Paul at 48 years, we are deeply honored that Rob chose our bakery as the locale for this momentous occasion.  Many thanks to Rob and Jenn for sharing their story!  Our other groom-to-be hid the engagement ring inside a gingerbread house…talk about a surprise!

Are you plotting something special this Valentine’s Day?  We’ve created a special Valentine’s Love Shack for 2013.  To achieve those pretty pink walls and roof, we used short-dough rather than gingerbread.  As always, you may personalize it with names on the roof…or perhaps a message…or a question…  We also created a Valentine’s Love Shack Kit.  Build and decorate one together – it serves as a tasty metaphor for things to come!  (Of course, your children and grandchildren will love them too)

valentines gingerbread house love shack solvang bakery

valentines gingerbread house kit love shackvalentines cookies solvang bakerythe-solvang-bakery-valentines iced cookies gift box

Gingerbread Origins, from Gingerbread Men to Gingerbread Houses to Gingerbread Recipes

gingerbread-house-kits-and-men-solvang-bakery

Ah, gingerbread.  The smell of it baking, the taste of a gingerbread man, or the sight of a gingerbread house, conjures the holidays.  Memories float forward, bumping out our to-do lists, allowing sweet visions of childhood to pervade our minds.  It’s not just a number on a calendar that tells us the holidays are upon us.  It’s the aromas, tastes, and visual feasts that make them real.

gingerbread-house,-gingerbread-cookie-jar,-solvang-bakeryAt The Solvang Bakery, the tantalizing redolence of baking almond butter rings elicits a hint of the holidays, but it’s the distinct scent of gingerbread that makes it definitive.  Gingerbread has been embedded in our culture for centuries.

Gingerbread gets its name from the rather unattractive root ‘ginger’, and its color from molasses.  The ginger root has long been associated with myriad health benefits and holistic medicine.  It ‘s thought to aid in digestion (soothing stomach aches), be an anti-inflammatory aid, help with menstrual cramps and morning sickness, fend off disease, and even relieve some of the nausea associated with motion sickness.  Some folks use it to relieve heartburn as well.

Gingerbread’s deep, rich color comes from molasses.  Made with a variety of spices, it can contain brown sugar, molasses, granulated sugar, honey, and/or light or dark corn syrup.  At The Solvang Bakery, we use two recipes, one for our gingerbread cookies, and a heartier recipe that’s ideal for building our sturdy gingerbread houses.  Maili, an executive chef, and sister and daughter of bakery owners Melissa and Susan, published the recipe for gingerbread cookies on her blog…just click here to view it.

So where did gingerbread originate?  There seems to be almost as many theories as there are gingerbread men.  We can be pretty confident that some form of it originated in the Middle East as that part of the world brought spices to the western world, but there are references that go as far back as the ancient Greeks and Egyptians.

Queen Elizabeth I (reigned 1558 – 1603) is credited with the invention of the gingerbread man.  She would delight visiting dignitaries with gingerbread men made in their own likenesses.  Contemporary to Queen Elizabeth I was none other than William Shakespeare who wrote in Love’s Labor’s Lost, “An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy gingerbread.”

Gingerbread houses gained popularity after the Brothers Grimm published Hansel and Gretel in 1812.  The wicked witch’s house was made of gingerbread and was adorned with candy… a tantalizing treat to the hungry brother and sister.

Gingerbread is woven into the fiber of American history as well.  George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, developed a recipe for Gingerbread Cake in 1784.  That recipe was reprinted in the blog Syrup and Biscuits, which you can find by clicking here.  Gingerbread was Abraham Lincoln’s ‘biggest treat’ and he invoked a gingerbread anecdote in his Lincoln – Douglas debates.

gingerbread-men-and-women-tree-solvang-bakeryWith only a brief period of decreased popularity (‘witches’ used gingerbread men as voodoo dolls in the early 17th century), gingerbread has been a delicious part of our western culture for centuries.  At The Solvang Bakery, we’re proud to keep these traditions alive and evolving…from our ovens to your table.

Have any great gingerbread memories to share?  Please do!

 

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-18365/The-gingerbread-man-ages.html

http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/crossculturaldesserts/a/gingerhistory.htm

http://www.arthritistoday.org/nutrition-and-weight-loss/healthy-eating/good-food/ginger-benefits.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gingerbread

http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-ginger.html

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/food/2008/12/a-brief-history-of-gingerbread/