Some Enchanted Eating: Colorful Gingerbread Houses

I have always been a little skittish about gingerbread houses when the Christmas came around.

I’ve always wanted to build one.  I have a half dozen books on the subject.  I certainly have ideas, but by the time December came around, it just seemed too intimidating to add one more holiday-associated frustration.  Gingerbread houses are structures, and they need to have straight lines and proper support.  One weak or inadvertently curved cookie or klutzy move decorating-associated spasm (from which I am prone to suffer) and all of the work would be for naught.  Sure, I could buy a pre-baked ready-to-assemble gingerbread house kit at the craft store, but then I’ll never learn, will I?

But this year was the year.  I did it—really!  What cinched it for me was stumbling upon a cookie cutter that cut out all the pieces for a gingerbread house.  In four punches of the cutter, I had enough shapes to make two houses plus extra parts to account for my clumsiness spasms.  Paul joined in, too, and we each made a gingerbread house.

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Check out more pictures, below.

 

After I baked the dough, I studied up on gingerbread house construction.  Of all the books I had, the most useful advice came from Sweetopia’s video on building a gingerbread house.  It’s very helpful, and I highly recommend watching it if you’re planning on making a gingerbread house for the first time.

Following Sweetopia’s instructions, we each built our house foundation.

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After the base was all set, we attached the roof and the chimney.  The chimney is what gave me the most frustration.  My cookie house has a chimney, but they’re certainly not necessary.  After the basic construction was done, we headed out to the candy store.  We went to a local store that sold candy in bulk.  It was great to see all of the candies that were available, as well as only have to by what we needed to make two small houses.  We didn’t have a set idea of what we would find at the candy store, so we came up with our ideas at the store based on their selection.

Paul’s house was a modern take on the log cabin—green siding, similar to what you’d find in a Lincoln logs set—and strawberry shingles.  Where Strawberry Shortcake might live if she were a lumberjack.

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The siding was sour candy tape with a piece of red Laffy-Taffy rolled thin for the door.

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Bushes were red raspberry candies, and the upstairs window was set with a strawberry-banana jelly ring.

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The side windows were also offset with jelly rings.

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Paul was a master with his choice of shingle–red gummy strawberries.  Delicious and beautiful!

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The chimney was created with cola-flavored Pez candy.

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The back door was guarded with a gummy penguin.  A vicious assassin penguin, no doubt.

My house is a wonderland chateau with candies made with every FDA-approved food dye known to man.

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The base of the house and all the windows are trimmed with Smarties candies.

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I am particularly fond of the shingles—Fruit Stripe Gum!

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The chimney was adorned with Mint Melties.  I did not purchase enough—the smile on the front face of the chimney was not part of my original design.  Poor planning is the true mother of all invention!

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The purple, pink, and blue trees are rock candies on swizzle sticks.  I cut off the tops of the swizzle sticks before attaching them with royal icing.  If you look closely, you can see a bit of thin wood peeking from the tops.

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The windows on the back were Lego-like Candy Blocks.  Who knew these existed?!

Yeah, these houses have some “rustic” qualities, but it was a great holiday experience for me.  I look forward to making one again next year!  We might decide to check out the National Gingerbread House Competition in Asheville, NC for some inspiration.

Happy Baking and Happy New Year!

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