Ever wonder when these festive houses became a Christmas essential? Gingerbread dates back to the 11th century when crusaders returning from the Middle East brought back ginger, which Catholic monks then used to bake gingerbread for religious occasions. Gingerbread houses were popularized in the early 1800s, at the time that the Brothers Grimm published the collection of German fairytales – Hansel and Grettle being one of them. The age-old tradition of baking and decorating these classic cottages is one that you’ll be able to continue with Carla’s recipe. Once baked and built, top with the works, and then display. Your own Hansel and Grettle won’t be able to keep their hands off them.