2008 Gingerbread House Contest Winners
Here at This Old House, we're big fans of DIY builders. But little did we know that the tools of the trade—band saws, wood rasps, belt sanders, Dremels—could be used to build dessert
Here at This Old House, we're big fans of DIY builders. But little did we know that the tools of the trade—band saws, wood rasps, belt sanders, Dremels—could be used to build dessert! When we asked you to show us your holiday creations, the skills, historical knowledge, and ingenuity you exhibited were truly impressive. From tree house to Victorian manse, here, selected by our editors and readers, are the winners of our first-ever This Old Gingerbread House contest.
This fall scene was fashioned after my favorite time of year and my childhood dream of having a tree house in my backyard. So now, as an adult, I finally built my own tree house! The tree trunk is made by stacking round gingerbread cookies with royal icing sandwiched between. The limbs are pretzels. I used a cordless drill with a small hole saw to drill holes to insert the pretzel limbs into. The trunk and limbs were then covered with brown fondant and painted with melted chocolate. The tree stumps were made the same way.
All the children are made with gumpaste and fondant and modeled after my nieces, nephews, and stepson. The dirt is ground gingerbread and vanilla cookies and the dried grass is shredded wheat.
I hope you enjoy my childhood dream!
I made a gingerbread lighthouse with a mermaid and lots of sea creatures. Some tools that I used : an X-acto knife for cutting out all of the pieces and scoring the woodgrain into the rowboat and the pilings; a fine sand paper for rounding and smoothing both gingerbread and gumpaste; a metal ruler for cutting and measuring all of the main pieces as well as the individual bricks, shingles, and stones; a level to make sure the "rock" base was level. It was so much fun and it really gave me a healthy respect for builders of life size houses! Thank you!
This is my second gingerbread house. My house is a cape cod style called "Autumn House." It's size is two feet high by two feet wide. The structure is all gingerbread, and I piped royal icing for my clapboard siding. The roof is bowtie pasta and cereal on the eaves. I used marzipan to make apples and baskets and pumpkins. The porch has cinnamon stick columns. I colored coconut for the grass, but baked it slightly to make it a little brown. My stone work is soup beans. I used Oreos on my chimney. The window "glass" is poured hard candy. Some shrubs are corn flakes and others are Fruity Pebbles.
Cranberry Township, PA
The gingerbread castle has gumpaste cupolas, royal icing green wreaths, rice paper banners, gingerbread soldiers and their ladies dressed in royal icing attire. The castle is surrounded by a moat and has rock candy rocks in the back. The castle pieces are all painted grey with thinned royal icing.
Mary Beth E
I used all 100% completely edible products. My stone is made from toffee that I cooked to be softer than normal so that it was pliable enough to form into different realistic looking stones, then hand painted using food color. My favorite part is the chocolate tree and swing. I cut black licorice string over and over until it was thin enough to look like leather rope.
This entry is a grouping of three gingerbread house shops along a cobblestone street. They are all decorated for the coming holiday. Everything is edible except the plywood board it is sitting on. Before baking any gingerbread, a template was made with cardboard, a ruler and an X-Acto knife. The cardboard was taped together with masking tape to ensure all pieces fit together and were to scale. Then, the dough was made and rolled out with a rolling pin, the template pieces were placed on the dough and cut out with a pizza cutter. After baking and cooling, the pieces were decorated with colored royal icing, and a variety of candy and decorations were used. The little wreaths and jimmies were placed with tweezers. After decorations were set and dry, icing was spread with a knife onto the edges of the pieces, they were pressed together and left to dry. The last step was the landscaping, which included the snow, the cobblestone street, and the trees and bushes.
It is a replica of our store front.
Green Bay, WI
This Gingerbread House is a 100% edible interpretation of the Flavel House Museum located in Astoria, Oregon. German-born architect Carl W. Leick built The Flavel House for Captain George Flavel and his family in 1885 as Captain Flavel's retirement home. Captain George Flavel was a noted river bar pilot on the Columbia River and a prominent Astoria businessman.
The Flavel house survives today as a landmark of local and national significance and is known as one of the best-preserved examples of Queen Anne architecture in the Northwest. Tools used to create this gingerbread house include a band saw, micro plane, X-acto knives, silicone mats and rollers, and assorted cookie cutters and molds.
Ingredients used in the construction and decoration of the Gingerbread house include the following: 15 pounds of flour (approx.), 12 pounds of confection sugar,
8 pounds brown sugar, 9 cups of molasses, 4 quarts of whipping cream, 22.5 pounds of fondant, vanilla extract, piping gel, food coloring, gelatin sheets, ginger, sugar cones, cinnamon, dill weed, whole dill seed, crushed red pepper, whole rosemary, parsley, pasta, luster dusts.
I modeled my gingerbread house after a photo of a Christmas ornament that I saw in a magazine. I used royal icing to pipe the siding on my house. The trim around the windows and the white scalloped trim on the front of the house was made using fondant. My figures were also crafted using fondant. The leaves in the windows were made with royal icing and the trees are royal icing piped on an ice cream cone base. The candles in the windows are made of gum paste and then painted with food coloring. Inside the front window under the porch there is a gingerbread table with a fondant tablecloth, a gingerbread pie, a baking sheet with gingerbread men, and a fondant rolling pin. These might not show up in my photo. The stone fence is gingerbread that has been baked on a curved bread pan and I've used an impression mat to get the stone look.
I used the normal kitchen tools, an exacto knife, some metal duct pipe, a ruler, PLUS a belt sander to make the edges straight and to smooth out some of the bumps.