I am particpating in a gingerbread festival in the fall and i have no idea what to make. This will be my first time particpating and working with gingerbread. I had hoped to make the Louvre but im afraid that it would be biting off more than i could chew. Does anyone have some advice or perhaps another idea as to what i could make?
ChefTalk.com Top Picks
What I did was drive through the neighborhood and looked at old houses. I took pictures of various facades on the homes and created a house from there. I went to the bulk candy store and looked for candy that I could use for things like cobblestones, trim on the house, stairs, roofing, etc.
The houses sides I drew on cardboard, over laid them on the raw cookie dough and cut out the pieces to bake.
Thanks for the ideas, after doing more research i decided trying to make the louvre was a little crazy for my first gingerbread house. Instead i am going to recreate a scene from the movie White Christmas. I want to put lights in the house, do you think that using christmas lights would be a good idea or is there another idea you can think of.
Edited by Jolie4686 - 7/8/10 at 5:11pm
If it's for a contest, I'm guessing it must be all edible: That is, no wood, cardboard, or other materials in the construction. Many of the houses you see are a "veneer" of gingerbread glued onto mdf or plywood pieces to prevent sagging and to bear significant weight
I suggest a two-pronged approch. First one is to work with your gingerbread recipie and really get to know it. Large slabs like roofs or walls have a tendancy to sag, soak up humidty, or crack. If the house must be edible, no one said it had to taste great, just look great.
Second is Design. It has to look good, transport well, hold up to humidty and the occasional kid's or adult's finger poking around and trying to break off something edible.
Gelatine leaves for window glass always adds a nice touch.......
My understanding is that gingerbread destined for houses is made from recipes different than when making cookies, etc. The "construction grade" produces a much stiffer, stronger bread, able to withstand the rigors of house building.
Keep in mind, too, that if you make shapes before baking you are likely to run into problems with mismatching. That is, two squares, for instance, that start off the same may not shrink or expand the same, will not have true corners, etc. One reason so much Royal Icing is used in gingerbread contruction is to fill-in those mis-matches, as well as to serve as a mortar to bind pieces together.
For windows, make appropriate stencils. Melt hard candies and pour them into the molds.
Most Christmas tree lights, even the minis, are too big for gingerbread houses. You'd be better off with a series of LEDs---providing the exhibit rules allow them at all.
Were it me, I'd start by experimenting with a simple 4-walls & a roof house, to develop a feel for working with the gingerbread and decorating techniques. Then move on to something more complex.