Gingerbread Architecture

This year with the Kersten family, in New Jersey, we had a Gingerbread House Competition!

With two Architecture graduates, one Interior Architecture graduate, an Interior Designer, and a historian- things are bound to get interesting!!!

To make the gingerbread house pieces:

1 C Crisco Melted
1 1/2 C Molasses (Grandma's brand)
1 C Sugar
5 C Flour
1 Tbs Ginger
1 Tbs Allspice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 egg

Melt Crisco- mix in a bowl with Molasses and sugar.  Add all dry ingredients wile mixing then add egg.  Dough will be smooth, soft and elastic.  Cover with damp cloth to keep soft while working.  [We found it was easier to work with after it had cooled down a minute or two]  Put wet paper towel on table cover with parchment or brown paper.  Roll dough to desired thickness [about 1/8" thick], cut and remove outsides.  [My sister-in-law, Liz, had cookie cutters for the house shapes] Place paper and dough on cookie sheet.  Bake until outside edges are lightly brown at 350 degrees.  Remove from pan to cool.

Then let the pieces cool for a day before assembling them with icing.

Royal Icing:

1/4 C Meringue Powder (Wilton brand)
1 Lb powered sugar (2 1/2 - 3 cups)
6-7 Tbs Hot water

Beat 10 min on high-make sure the bowl and the beaters have nothing greasy on them.

[scoop some icing into small baggies and cut the corner to use as a piping bag]

We cut a circle out of cardboard and covered it with foil for the base of each gingerbread house.

Working hard on our little homes!

It's definitely helpful to have a couple of exact o knives for carving shapes and cutting details!

 The finished products:

 Liz & Tom created a nature-themed cottage in the woods complete with a campfire, dried fruit garland, almond pine trees, granola ground cover, chex-tiled roof, and dusted powdered sugar for snow!

 Nancy & Jerry made a southwestern-themed home with a licorice tile roof, pretzel cactus, rosemary bushes, graham cracker sand, dried cranberry hanging "peppers", and an inflatable snowman on the porch!

Jim & Betsy used the same gingerbread pieces to cut out their own shapes for St. Basil's Cathedral in Russia!  They used large hershey kisses, tootsie roll, and caramel squares to mold their onion domes.  It was pretty funny a couple of days later the large caramel dome became too heavy and began to tilt causing the middle tower to lean and sink into the base!

Matt & my Deutsches Fachwerk cottage in der Schwartzwald
[German cottage in the Black Forrest]
We used icing for stucco, pretzels for fachwerk, licorice rope for bricks, nerds for flowers, coconut for snow, roasted peanuts for rocks, gumballs & Wasabi-flavored covered nuts for bushes, and black licorice shapes for stepping stones!  Complete with a snowman out front, a wilkommen sign over the door, and a caramel-molded dachshund in the front yard!  

The next day our caramel wiener dog had sunk down to the ground and looked like a dead dog in the yard!  Lesson Learned: caramel is not as good as tootsie roll for molding shapes! 

Which one is your favorite?
[honestly, no feelings hurt!]

1 comment:

Austin & Terri said...

Wow!! Those are all super impressive. I really like the Russian one!