Sunday, October 06, 2013

Hansel and Gretel, it all makes sense now!

   When dawn broke, they started to wander about the forest, seeking a path, but all hope soon faded. They were well and truly lost. On they walked and walked, till suddenly they came upon a strange cottage in the middle of a glade.

   "This is chocolate!" gasped Hansel as he broke a lump of plaster from the wall.

   "And this is icing!" exclaimed Gretel, putting another piece of wall in her mouth. Starving but delighted, the children began to eat pieces of candy broken off the cottage.

   "Isn't this delicious?" said Gretel, with her mouth full. She had never tasted anything so nice.

   "We'll stay here," Hansel declared, munching a bit of nougat. They were just about to try a piece of the biscuit door when it quietly swung open.

   "Well, well!" said an old woman, peering out with a crafty look. "And haven't you children a sweet tooth?" 

So it all makes sense now. After doing a wee bit of research i discovered we owe modern ginger bread houses to the the popularity the house made all out of food from Hansel and Gretel of Grimms Fairy Tales (c. 1812)!

Friday, October 04, 2013

What crazy baker invented this?

A miniature house, made out of a cookie? Seriously....? What insane baker came up with this?

I had always wanted to build a ginger bread house and for two years I had drooled over this great book... The Ginger Bread Architect that had sat patiently waiting on my shelf. But I was always a bit leary of what a huge project it would be.... and then... the grotto decided to do a bake sale for Octobers meeting and suddenly... i had the proper motivation!  I also had a brave friend that agreed to help me for two looong evenings assembling and detailing my first ginger bread house.

 So this is the photo from the book - the Second Empire ginger bread house that i mottled the Spooky house after.

Three shades of coconut grass. Black for the graveyard, and two shades of green for the yard.

The batch of ginger bread getting mixed up in my grandmother's mixer. Im glad i had it - cause with a triple batch of ginger bread... with 15 cups of flour... I needed it!
These are the plans for the house - each section measured out and laminated so i could reuse them. 
The first set of pieces all rolled out and ready to go.

First set of walls and roof, fresh out of the oven.

Butterscotch and Root Beer barrel windows with candy eyes.
Side panels with the first of the royal icing decoration

Tombstones for the greaveyard and bats for the tree.

The back of the house with fondant shutters and little cookie bats.

Side panels with added black vines and fondant shutters

Roof detail with royal icing, sprinkles and fancy decor.

Mary Lee laying down a bead of the green royal icing along the base of the house.

Me putting a bead of royal icing "caulk" for the small roof at the front of the house.

On the left - the beginnings of the Black fondant covered cemetary. The hill is ramen noodles.  On the right  side you see the beginnings of the chicklet pathway to the garden.

The finished pumpkin patch. Chicklet garden path, chocolate covered graham beds, Brach's pumpkin, sour apple laces for pumpkin vines, Amy's graham bunnies, and Mint Chocolate coverd pretzels for fencing.

Marbleized fondant wrapped over two caramels, Piped 1881 date for the above ground crypt.

Both roofs installed. Porch partially installed - note the pins holding it together while the icing dries.

Mary Lee piping the crypt fencing onto wax paper.
Mary Lee adding some white chocolate "limstone" rocks.

The almost finished grave yard.

The beginnings of landscaping the yard with partially installed coconut sod.

Popcorn ball landscaping, planted with pretzel sticks

The complete house!!

Twizzler licorice tree with hanging bat cookies and pumpkin patch in the background
The front facade of the gingerbread house with new landscaping.