It’s gingerbread house season and we’ve got tips from a master gingerbread house builder, Marian Poirer, founder of the tutorial-style baking blog, Sweetopia. She is also a guest speaker at this weekend’s Mixed Conference with Duff Goldman!
Marian takes gingerbread houses to new levels with her clever use of candy, foolproof recipes, and templates.
Her sweet pink gingerbread house (above) features pink rock candy sticks as the evergreen trees, pink Sixlets as the siding, and Necco Wafers and Shimmer Pink Bubble Gumballs as the rooftop. Simple ideas that you can easily build on at home.
Marian’s red and white gingerbread house (below) turns swirl pops into trees, and gumballs and Sixlets into Seuss-like shrubs.
We had a chance to talk with Marian about her gingerbread houses and gather a few tips. Here’s the abridged version …
Candy.com: Your gingerbread houses are works of art. What got you interested in making them?
Marian: My fascination with making sweets began nine years ago, when a illness prevented me from engaging in physical fitness; what I had previously spent much of my free time doing. I needed to keep busy, and as gingerbread houses had always charmed me, I decided to try my hand at one. The first house I made wasn’t the prettiest, but I was hooked! The more I made them, the more I found there was to try. Thank goodness the illness only lasted about six months, and I’m grateful for it now, because it led me to find one of my favorite hobbies.
Candy.com: What is your absolute favorite candy to use on a gingerbread house? (We love your use of pink rock candy sticks!)
Marian: Candy canes first, and gumballs come a close second. Oh, and I do love the rock candy sticks, too! They have this pretty, kind of ‘candy gem’ look, and can easily be matched to any color theme.
Candy.com: In your opinion, what’s the trickiest part to creating a gingerbread house?
Marian: I would have to say putting the walls together and the roof on. As long as you’ve got a really good royal icing (nice and thick), that will do wonders in making the process much easier. Until I found the recipe I use now, I went through a few frustrating experiences.
Candy.com: Do you have a rule of thumb for about how much candy to buy per small-sized and/or large-sized house?
Marian: It depends on the style I’m going for. If I’m making a house that I’d like to have a bit more of a realistic look, I’m a little more choosy and sparse with the candy. If I’m making a fun, whimsical type of gingerbread house, like the pink-themed one in this post, I pile on the candy! It’s always good to buy a little extra, as oftentimes I’m not sure how much I’ll need until I begin decorating. Plus, that way my husband and I can snack a bit, without being worried that there won’t be enough to finish the house!