Now, This Is A Gingerbread House!
Ok, I promise that this is the last Christmas post, but I could not resist sharing this amazing story.
I attended an exceptional caroling party during the holidays. It was such a treat to hear the carolers and to keep the Christmas spirit alive a bit longer.
Also, featured was the most spectacular gingerbread house I have ever seen.
It is a family affair and tradition, and this extraordinary family embarked on their gingerbread journey in 2014. This is one talented group! And, to think this all began with an interest in creating the absolute best sugar cookie.
Dad is a talented architect and engineer, Mom is an experienced baker and produces over 40 batches of dough and over 50 pounds of royal icing for their creation. The daughter in the family perfects the final decorations.
A lot of people at the party thought that this gingerbread house was made with a kit, and were amazed when they found out that this was made with a lot of love, hard work, and no kit.
Each year, the family selects a different theme. This year was the Disney castle. Then, the process begins.
Dad studies photos and uses 3-D models if available to put together the plan. He then uses a ruler and poster paper to create the templates for the design.
As soon as there is a general footprint for the structure, Mom gets to work making batches and batches (and batches) of dough. Meanwhile, Father and Daughter undertake the task of cutting and baking every single piece. We use “construction grade” gingerbread. While edible, this is decidedly not delicious, but it is sturdy and produces a solid structure. I was told that it has no leavening and can actually be manipulated with power tools once baked and hardened. It’s tough stuff!
Quite a bit of the decorating is done before assembly, so that there is a flat surface for the designs. When decorating, a projector, airbrush machine, royal icing, sprinkles, edible glitter, and edible metallic paint are all used to enhance the house.
Once all of the pieces are baked, and any pre-decorated pieces have dried, the assembly begins. The details are just incredible!
The Disney castle was easily the tallest piece this talented family has ever built.
It stands four feet from the base to the point of the golden spire. Evidently, the size was a little intimidating, and there was a debate between Father and Daughter regarding who determined it should be that big. There is always a little bit of bickering through the whole process and half-way through they always swear they will never do another one ever again. Then the New Year rolls around, and they start planning all over again.
Because of the size of this castle, the team had to be smart about how it was supported internally and how the pieces fit against and on top of one another. The size also meant that it was essential to allow parts to sit for extended periods of time so that the royal icing could harden enough to allow further building. This involved building the house into the wee hours of the morning.
Once the castle was fully assembled, the final touches were added in the form of royal icing snow, candy, and lots of Mickey Mouses. It is Disney, after all!
The entire project took approximately 150 man-hours to complete. It is entirely a labor of love and I am sure that getting to share the experience as a family makes it even more special. Yes, there are already discussions on what will be created for 2019.
A passion for decorating sugar cookies was what inspired this incredible project. It was only a matter of time before these delectable treats will be available to everyone. It took years to find the perfect sugar cookie recipe, and it is almost time to share these. Stay tuned for information on how to order these exceptional treats. Can you imagine the designs?
These cookies are both incredibly beautiful and, most importantly, really yummy!