2011 Gingerbread House Contest Winners
Check out this year's roundup of astonishing and edible abodes from the 4th annual TOH competition
It's astounding what DIYers can do with some gingerbread and a few trusty tools! You'll see how TOH readers put their band saws, wood rasps, belt sanders, Dremels, and X-Acto knives to work to build this year's roundup of edible abodes—and a few other kinds of cookie creations (like Santa's car and Noah's Ark, shown at left).
We're proud to present the best masterpieces from the 2012 TOH Gingerbread House Contest. Here, we count down to the $500 Grand Prize winning house in hopes that we'll inspire you to create your own baked bungalow this holiday season.
Can't get enough? See all of this year's entries to gather even more inspiration for your very own creation.
"My house is made of gingerbread logs. I rolled each one by hand. I cut them with a tiny saw, like the ones you get in pumpkin carving sets at the grocery store. They are fastened with royal icing. The shingles and fence are also gingerbread. The wreaths are gingerbread covered in tiny candies. I used gum paste for the shutters. The trees are made from ice cream cones rolled in cereal with green icing. This is my first ever gingerbread house."
Park City, UT
"I wanted to make Noah's Ark in gingerbread because the idea has such charm and so many possibilities. I used gingerbread, royal icing, and fondant (for Noah and the animals). I used an X-Acto knife, paint brushes, a ruler, and a level. It was a challenging design, but a lot of fun! Merry Christmas!"
"This gingerbread mill was inspired by The Wayside Inn Grist Mill in Sudbury, Massachusetts, which was built in 1929. Everything is edible except for the base. I used Rice Crispies treats to build up the base, gingerbread as the main structure, hard candy for the water, chocolate rocks for the siding, sheet gelatin for the windows, red-colored white chocolate for the red accents, gum for the roof, pretzels and pasta for the fencing, fresh herbs for the plants, pasta for the pulley, gum paste for the grinding stones, and Tootsie Rolls for the geese. I used kitchen implements to make a path of shoveled snow and animal tracks in the snow. My X-Acto knife and kitchen scissors also came in handy."
"Logs are each rolled out and baked then cut with a tiny crafting saw. The roof is also gingerbread tiles cut and baked at different temperatures for the color. Shutters are made from gum paste and painted. The wreaths are made of gingerbread then covered in tiny candies. The floor of the porch is also gum paste. The walkway is made of rock candies."
Park City, UT
"The gingerbread house is covered in a mix of candy bars. The white 'stone' trim around windows is made of gum and the stained-glass window is made of Fruit Roll-Ups. For the roof, I used graham crackers while the bell tower is made of cocoa. I used white chocolate with blue tint for the lake in the back (not shown)."
"It's a replica of my house, a French Normandy home. There is no candy used except the flag is made of a piece of gum. The roof is made of Cocoa Pebbles cereal and walls are made of graham crackers."
"This is my second attempt at a gingerbread house. I wanted to do a Victorian theme. A friend designed the structure for me and I went to work. The royal icing pieces were a first for me as well. The Dremel tool was used a lot to try and even up the walls and the pitch on the roof tops. Everything is completely edible except the lights inside and the base that the house sits on."
"After years of doing gingerbread houses I decided to spice things up a bit and create this 1930 Model T Ford. It's equipped with windshield wipers, gear shift, headlights and horn. Santa, Rudolph, and Ernie Elf have come along for the ride, along with all their toys for the Christmas kids. The car, tires, and inside upholstery are made entirely of gingerbread. The toys and figures are made of fondant. I spent about 50 hours on this."
"I wanted to do a house with some 'wow' factors. I always enjoyed Gothic architecture and had thought that Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris would be a good challenge. This is about 100 pounds and it took about 80 hours of work total. The top of the spire measures over 2 feet long and it's about 4 feet long. We rolled out the gingerbread, cut holes for the windows and used hard tack candy for the windows. The roof is tiled with Trident Gum."
"Our gingerbread house is a replica of the Nottoway Plantation which is located outside of New Orleans. I gave my father several pictures of the home and he made a cardboard scale model, and from that I made many, many sheets of gingerbread. The house is 2 ½ feet by 3 feet and 2 feet high. My father cut the gingerbread with the band saw and cut the windows with a Dremel tool. We poured sugar for the windows and put it together with royal frosting. We used over 25 different candies to decorate it and used fondant for the curtains, siding, and stair railings. We also used crackers, cookies, and broccoli (for the bushes). The entire house is edible. This was a family effort with three generations working on it from ages 16 to 82. We have spent approximately 130 man hours on it. We also used rulers, scissors, a power miter saw, a jig saw, a framing square, a level, sandpaper, and a metal file."
New London, WI
"This gingerbread project depicts a scene from the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, but the castle is a gingerbread replica of a local historical sandstone building. The pattern was constructed from architectural plans I created and the iconography of Sleeping Beauty, the prince, and dragon are based on the classic Disney film. The tools I used included a bandsaw, an X-Acto blade, and my rasp. Everything is edible except for the base. There were lots of herbs and spices used for vegetation and the roof, with gingerbread and gum paste for the figures."
"My friend and neighbor Mariann Budde became the bishop at the National Cathedral in November. We were lucky enough to attend the ordination. I was inspired! I've been making gingerbread houses since 1987, when I saw the process demonstrated on the show Good Company in the Twin Cities. I use their recipe because it is magic! Jolly Ranchers windows look great when the candles inside are lit. Pretzels helped in building the spires. Besides all of this it just takes lots of hours and a strong grip on the decorator bag!"
"Except for the key, this clock is made entirely of gingerbread. The grape leaves were all formed and veined by hand. The back of the clock is domed which I formed over a bent cookie sheet. I combined two different colors of gingerbread dough to give the clock a wooden look. The gold key is made from gum paste. Overall, the piece took about 12 hours to complete."
"All the bricks were cut from slabs of gingerbread using a pizza wheel and a paring knife. They were baked in batches at different temps to give the bricks random colors. They were all applied to the house by hand with royal icing. The roof is made of gum paste and each roof tile was colored and formed by hand. The windows are Isomalt that was melted and hardened on silicone sheets. The shelving inside the bakery window is gingerbread, and all the cakes and breads in the window are handmade from fondant. The roof and the snow have been airbrushed with a shiny vanilla food coloring to give it a beautiful sheen. It took just under four months for me to complete."
Heber City, UT
"My dad designed the Woodland Glen House with a scaled drawing. He used an architectural scale, X-Acto knife and foam board, to create the pattern. The pattern was then assembled and used as the guide for the cookie pieces. Numerous tools were used in the construction of the house and stand. An impact driver was used to insert the lighting, a jigsaw to enlarge holes and cut baked gingerbread, a Skil saw and miter with laser to cut the platform for the stand. A mouse sander and flat file were used for sanding the stand and rough edges of the gingerbread and a Dremel tool with various bits was used to grind edges and refine details.
The house and stand weigh 397 pounds. The recipe called for 110 eggs, 75 pounds of flour, 2 gallons of molasses, 15 pounds of brown sugar, 23 pounds of royal icing, and 55 pounds of candies. To add to the magic, there are edible tunnels, slides, reclining chairs, a motorized carousel, a skating pond, and a working train."
West Palm Beach, FL
"This house was constructed from gingerbread, fondant, and marzipan (for the figures). We used gelatin sheets for the windows. The balloons are gumballs on thin painted wires. The siding was made with fondant pressed with a pasta attachment on my KitchenAid mixer."
"This is a gingerbread village that was custom made by the families of the Girl Scout Troop 1745. The group includes 6- and 7-year-old Brownies who create this for the Wartburg Adult Care Community, a nursing home in Mount Vernon, NY.
The village is a replica of the beautiful Wartburg campus buildings. The President and CEO of Wartburg said that the village's 'likeness to our campus is remarkable' and 'it's a wonderful source of delight for our staff, residents, and their families during this holiday season."
The Families of the Girl Scout Troop 1745
"This house was made for The Wartburg Adult Care Community in Mount Vernon, NY, by me and my daughter Olivia, a 7-year-old Girl Scout of Troop 1745 in Yonkers. For our house, we used Corn Pops and Lucky Charms cereals for the walls, watermelon seeds for the tower roof, and spaghetti for the window trim."