I recently had my first gingerbread cookie of the season, purchased from my favorite local bakery. It was everything a good one should be — yet it was missing something. Sure it was chewy and extra spicy, but there was no warm, sweet smell of molasses, ginger, and cinnamon wafting from my kitchen as I ate it.
Baking Gingerbread Cookies for the Sensory Experience
The mingling of warm spices and sweet, slightly bitter molasses gives gingerbread cookies a smell unique to them alone. That smell has its own pleasure to it, apart from the pleasure of actually eating the cookies themselves. To be honest, I might argue that it's even more powerful than the taste!
As a kid, I remember Saturdays spent at my good friend's home during the holiday season and the smell of gingerbread cookies baking in the oven for us to decorate while holiday music played on the radio. Do I remember what the actual cookies tasted like? I am sure they were fine, but even today, when I smell gingerbread baking, I am reminded of those times. It smells of the holidays, of being surrounded by friends and family, and of tradition.
The act of baking gingerbread cookies is a simple pleasure that's a celebration of what's best about the season — what we so easily forget during the end-of-the-year rush. Yes, we all should stop and smell the cookies every once in a while!
What are some of your holiday memories of baking and the smell of gingerbread cookies?