These little gingerbreads are flavoured with ginger and coloured with red sanders. Chips of red sanders can be seen at the top left of the photograph. It is the wood of the red sandelwood tree (Pterocarpus santalinum), which before the introduction of cochineal was used as a red food colouring. In sixteenth century London there was such a call for it as a dyestuff that there was actually a Guild of Sanders Beaters, whose job was to grind this very hard brick red wood into a fine dust.
|Examples of early English gingerbread cookies|
Above: Stuart era gingerbread cookie mould.