{gingerbread in the house} Non-Traditional Gingerbread “Houses” I Have Made and Loved

Today I will be making my fourth non-traditional gingerbread house – I will keep it a surprise for the moment – so I found myself looking back on the last three years of crazy gingerbreading for ideas and inspiration. Since I (and the small group of friends on Team Gingerbread) only do it once a year, I find I sometimes forget crucial technical matters, like: never use Pirouette cookies as structural support (they break down and sag within 24 hours!) and an elaborate gingerbread backdrop is more trouble than it’s worth (too heavy, so there is far too much support needed.) On this eve of another explosive gingerbread creation, I wanted to share a little roundup of the past 3 years’ efforts.

Important note: I am a stickler for everything being edible in these – even structural supports. The only thing you can’t eat is the base, which is usually cardboard covered in foil or wrapping paper.

2009: The Gingerbread Casbah

Even though this was my first foray into serious gingerbreading, it is still my all-time favorite. Also, ironically, I think it photographed the best which is funny considering I was still using a point-and-shoot and had far fewer photography skills at that time in my life.

Something about that Middle Eastern architecture really lends itself to gingerbread as a medium. I had just returned from a trip to Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt, and I based this loosely on a gorgeous old (ancient?) courtyard house we had stayed at in the old city of Damascus. Since the middle is open, we were able to lavishly decorate the inside of the house, too.

You can see more pictures of the Gingerbread Casbah, and learn how we did it, right here.

2010: The Gingerbread Christmas Cabana

In 2010, the theme of our annual Christmas party was “Christmas in Summer” so we sent Santa to the Southern Hemisphere and made a beachside cabana.

My favorite general thing about this gingerbread scene is how the whole vision came together, with the ocean full of gummy fish, the fire pit, and the foliage. I love the simplicity of the structure – it looks like something you would crash in at some remote Thai beach.

More specifically, I love the Santa lounging in an innertube in the pool with his drink and his lawn chair.

But I’m also incredibly partial to the little beach bar, complete with peach gummy barstool and mini Christmas lights strung about.

You can see more pictures of the Gingerbread Christmas Cabana, and learn how we did it, right here.

2011: Gingerbread House on the Moon

Last year the party theme was “Christmas in the Future” and this was probably the most frustrating gingerbread project to date, because we had a lot of challenges making our vision come to life. It may be that we did too much over-thinking, or had too many candy-related setbacks, or weren’t in the mood for such a big project, but somehow it just didn’t gel the way I expected. Nevertheless, the final product came out well enough. It was hard to photograph because it was a long, skinny scene, and the heavy gingerbread backdrop made it too fragile to move easily.

We were inspired by Jetson’s-style buildings and tried to do a moonscape with robot reindeer and Santa in a spacecraft sleigh. I love how the backdrop came out, but I will not be planning anything with a backdrop again because it made the whole thing way too unwieldy. Santa’s UFO with the melted jolly rancher glass windscreen is probably my favorite single item of this project.

You can see more pictures of the Gingerbread House on the Moon, and learn how we did it, right here.

Stay tuned for this year’s gingerbread project – which should be up next week. I have a feeling it might be the best yet! But I probably just jinxed myself by saying that.


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4 Responses

  1. Lora says:

    These are all so fabulous. Puts me to shame. So much more elegant than the gingerbread meth lab I started last night as a project for work. Yes. Really.

  2. Karen says:

    @Lora GINGERBREAD METH LAB?!? Now this I have to see! Please please please post pictures, sounds amazing! 😉

  1. December 21, 2012

    […] week I did a roundup of my previous adventures in non-traditional gingerbreading, and I’m excited to show you what we made this year: The Snowy Japanese Gingerbread […]

  2. December 10, 2013

    […] The Christmas songs I’ve been listening to lately have me in the holiday spirit and while that doesn’t tranfer to a sudden urge to devour gingerbread houses or fruit cakes, I did happen to stumble upon this unique gingerbread scene that included a beach bar. Yes, you read that right. Someone with more artistic and baking skills in their little pinky than I will ever have (If I can’t grill it or microwave it, I’m in trouble), came up with this neat creation that will help transport you away to somewhere warmer. Personally, I don’t know how anyone would ever want to eat this – I’d probably just sit there and stare at it and daydream. For more info on this unique scene and other gingerbread creations, you can read the rest of the article here. […]