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Gingerbread House 2009

December 9, 2009

Here it is…gingerbread house 2009, which is my second from-scratch gingerbread house. I’m really happy with how it turned out. The snowman is my favorite part!

I’ve included all the information I can think of below, but if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. If you’ve made a gingerbread house, give me the link so I can take a look!

Details

  • The roof is shingled with Golden Grahams cereal.
  • The door and shutters, candles, and bow on the wreath are fondant. The candles have a little silver pearl dust on the flame.
  • The window boxes and wreath are royal icing colored green with some sugar pearls for decoration. I made the wreath on parchment paper and then attached it to the house.
  • The snowman is a base of fondant rolled into balls, covered with royal icing. The arms are pretzel sticks and the eyes and nose are fondant.
  • The “stained glass” windows are made with crushed red and green Life Savers.
  • The walkway is paved with sliced almonds.
  • The Christmas lights along the roof are mint holiday M&Ms.
  • The chimney is made from Twizzlers Bites (bite-size licorice).
  • The log pile is pretzels with royal icing snow.
  • The fence is holiday gum drops.
  • The base is a piece of wood covered with heavy brown paper. Thanks to my husband, there’s a light bulb attached to the base, and I built the house around the bulb. It looks really pretty at night with the light shining through the “stained glass” windows.

Some of my ideas were taken from the resources listed below. If you look at those links, you’ll see more details and tips about the windows, window boxes, wreath, and candles.

Resources

  • I made a gingerbread house last year and I came back to that post to see what I had to say. My advice was helpful!
  • This PDF file from King Arthur has lots of helpful information on construction of the house and decorations, including the candy windows. It also has the recipe I used for the gingerbread and icing. I made 1.5 batches of gingerbread and 3 separate batches of royal icing (but I had extra icing).
  • This year, the King Arthur blog featured a really cute gingerbread house. This is what gave me the idea to use fondant. It was my first time with fondant, and their instructions helped a lot. I also used the ideas from this post to make the window boxes, candles, and wreath.
  • I started with this template (PDF), though I did make some modifications.

Top Tips

  • Roll and cut the gingerbread directly on the sheet you’ll bake it on or do it on parchment and pick up the parchment to place on the sheet. If you move the pieces around, they’ll get distorted (I think I did this right last year and wrong this year).
  • If you’re using crushed candy for the windows, be sure to bake the pieces on parchment or a silicone mat, or else the candy will stick to the baking pan.
  • Line up your pieces before gluing them together with icing; trim if necessary to get them to align better. A microplane is a fantastic tool for trimming the pieces. I used a flat rectangular one that I usually use for Parmesan cheese. I filed away on some of the pieces and felt like a woodworker!
  • I used a small curved microplane to file away a little spot for the cord to come out the back.
  • Give everything plenty of drying time. I worked on one thing at a time and let it dry before moving on. That way, there’s no danger of bumping into something before it’s dry.

Biggest Challenges

  • Our dog is fascinated with this project! I used the dining room table as my work area and she got up there and ate some small pieces I had made to use as a chimney. After that I closed off the room so she couldn’t get in, and now it’s up in a high spot that she can’t get to (but she’s trying to figure out how she can!).
  • My husband kept eating the candy while I was still working on the house. Lucky for him, he didn’t deplete any supplies that I needed. He took these nice photos too, so I’ll give him a break!

More Gingerbread Fun…

  • Check out this year’s White House Gingerbread House. It doesn’t exactly look gingerbread-y, but take a look at the garden and the mini-Bo!
  • When I went to Chicago, I saw a giant gingerbread house at the Marriott on Michigan Avenue. Those photos are here.
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22 comments

  1. So cute! And so much work and I’m not surprised your husband was stealing candy as you worked, mine would do the same.

    Love the Twizzlers Bites chimney!


  2. WOW. I am so impressed! I’ve made gingerbread houses before, but nothing this fancy. The lights knock me out. Well done!


  3. Your little snowman is so sweet!


  4. Your gingerbread house is fantastic. It looks wonderful. I always look at the kits they have avaiable in Costco. Your little house is so much better. Love it.


  5. You did a fabulous job! I love the windows and the little walkway.


  6. Ok, this is more than an “over achiever”! WOW…. I am very impressed. I would have made the gingerbread dough and be ready for the next baking project! What patience you must have.. it’s gorgeous Jill! And it’s so tailored to you, that’s what’s important! Happy Holidays!


  7. Jill, that house looks absolutely gorgeous. What an awesome project. I laughed out loud about your “biggest challenges,” I know I would have the same problems (and probably only get about halfway through).


  8. your tips are really helpful. especially the rolling the dough out directly on the tray one.


  9. Jill…I am in absolute awe of your gingerbread house! It is so beautiful!!!!!

    I love that you included helpful hints too, it is inspiring to me!!!!


  10. oh, wow, jill! this is so fabulous. every year i want to make one and never do. next year i’ll know where to look for inspiration and advice:)


  11. Very nice! We have been building gingerbread houses for 4 years now. We won second place this year for our “Carl’s House from the Pixar movie UP”. You can see photos of it here:

    http://www.searchlawrence.com/Gingerbread_Pixars_Up_Carls_House.php


  12. That looks great. The one I made with my 4yr old niece can’t hold a candle to your master piece!


  13. Wow Jill, Love the lights. You’ve got lots of great ideas. I’ve never made one. Of course, the one on my site is my sister’s. I’m going to tell her about yours.


  14. Wowow you did an impressive job with your gingerbread house! “_


  15. Fantastic!


  16. It’s so cute Jill, and so detailed! Ijust made the Donna Hay gingerbread house which I will post soon, but I sure did not make mine as pretty as this.


  17. omg. It looks perfect! Great job.


  18. I’m working on my g-house too, but it’s not nearly as nice as yours! I love the fact that the inside lights up – very impressive.


  19. How adorable! I love all the details (and that snowman is the best!)


  20. So much fun to see this…love that little snowman guy you made, so perfect for it. Yours looks so elegant and real! Like I could actually go there and visit…wouldn’t that be fun?


  21. That is absolutely the cutest lil’ house! I LOVE the snowman, too. (I collect snowman and love them.) And I love the cereal roof shingles! We do gingerbread houses with the boys every Christmas eve, but I never get to do what I want. ;)


  22. Your gingerbread house is fabulous! Such perfection! I’m totally impressed!



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