Posts Tagged ‘gingerbread’

Sweetopia's Candylicious Pink and White Gingerbread House

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.

Sweetopia's Candylicious Red and White Gingerbread House

 

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 Poirier - SweetopiaMarian: 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! ;-)

Sweetopia's Traditional Gingerbread House

 

For more tips, check out Marian’s blog post Gingerbread House Ideas and video Making a Gingerbread House.

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Build your best Gingerbread House ever … and don’t be shy with the candy decorations! Candy.com and MyCandyCrafts.com are sponsoring a 2011 Gingerbread House Competition …

The competition is open to bakers of all ages and skill levels, and the winning baker/builder will receive a $75 Gift Certificate to Candy.com or MyCandyCrafts.com. Winner’s choice!

To enter, just go to https://www.candy.com/Gingerbread-House-2011-Contest_ep_94-1.html and follow instructions to submit your original photographs of your gingerbread house, along with a brief (300 words or less) description of your project. There is no limit to the number of entries per person, but each entry must be a different gingerbread house. (Gingerbread “houses” can also be other structures such as a windmill, boat, candy shop, etc.)

The deadline to receive photos and project descriptions is December 15, 2011, so fire up your rolling pin and get cracking!

Winners will be announced on Dec. 20, 2011, and will be unveiled in a blog post, right here, so keep your eyes peeled. Thank you in advance to all who participate! We’re looking forward to seeing and sharing your great work!

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in Candy, Christmas, Contests, Holidays

Gulp. Right after Thanksgiving dinner at my house, I’m going to let all of the junior guests create gingerbread cottages.

I say “cottages” because I’m going to hot glue graham crackers together ahead of time, and if you’ve ever done it, it’s easiest to keep the structure modest: four short walls and one roof. Besides, McMansions are so 2002.

I’ve got green, white, and chocolate frosting at the ready along with Dots, Twizzlers, mini candy canes, holiday M&M’s, Skittles, Hershey Candy Kane Kisses, mini marshmallows, sprinkles, Peeps snowman, and Peeps Christmas trees.

Am I missing any items you’ve found successful in the construction/decoration of gingerbread houses?

I think I may need Tootsie Roll Midgees and cherry fruit rolls for campfires outside each cottage.

I plan on a follow-up blog post to show you the finished products, let you know which candies worked best for the build outs, and any interesting home decor/exterior items the kids dreamed up during construction.

In the meantime, please do send me any tips for creating killer gingerbread houses. I’m all ears!

(Speaking of tips, I recently came across the book No Bake Gingerbread Houses for Kids, which has some great examples of gingerbread houses constructed out of graham crackers, cookies, ice cream cones, and waffle bowls. Another good resource is Martha Stewart’s photo gallery of no-bake gingerbread houses and cookie cottages.)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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