Oct 3, 2009
Haunted Gingerbread House
This gingerbread house centerpiece happens to be one of my favorite edible projects to date. The house is constructed out of a more durable gingerbread and "glued" together with a basic royal icing. I used fondant and gumpaste, along with other edible items for the figurines, decorations, and spoooooky graveyard.
Although I constructed this decorative piece a few years ago, I continually receive emails asking questions on the execution of the details. I regret that at the time of the making, I didn't have a blog, so I didn't take step by step pics. However, I thought I could at least give you a closer look at how the individual details were accomplished. I also wanted to share some helpful recipes along the way, that can be adapted to suit any gingerbread project that you may have in the works. (ya know, Christmas is right around the corner, YIKES)
Gingerbread Construction Dough. I've also included the rolling, cutting out, and baking instructions. For the windows, I baked the pieces with the windows cut out, then used crushed suckers in the holes and re-baked just until the sugar had melted.
To assemble the house, it's helpful if you use soup cans to hold the walls up while you "glue" them together with royal icing. If you find that difficult, let it dry overnight before attaching the roof pieces. You can also use soup cans to hold the edges of the roof up while they dry. The mummy, pumpkins, and skull and bones were made with a gumpaste and/or MMF mixture, allowed to fully dry, then hand painted with food coloring mixed with a bit of vodka. The mummy was dusted with powdered food coloring to give him that "dirty boy" look after he had dried.
old house after all. LOL It doesn't show up in the pic, but I brushed on an edible "glitter" dust to add a bit of sparkle to the roof, indicating the glow of the moon. The pebbles/stones on the chimney and in the walkway were made out of scraps of fondant after completing all of the other pieces. Then I spread out a tinted royal icing, that served as the "mortar" for setting the stones in place.
For the bushes and ivy on the roof and sides of the house, I modified a rice krispie treat recipe and used wheaties for a more realistic leafy look. You can find the recipe and directions here for the Cereal Treat Structures
As for the ghosts...well, they didn't turn out quite as originally planned, but good enough. I knew that I wanted them to appear "floating" above the ground. So I used a floral wire with a hook on the end and shaped a small ball for the head, stuck that in styrofoam to dry while I worked on the sheets. Next, I rolled out a piece of fondant and cut out a circle with a cookie cutter. Once cut, I feathered the edges somewhat by rolling the edges even thinner, while keeping the middle thicker. I covered the ghost heads with the sheets then used a fondant tool to fluff out and shape the bottoms of the sheets. This helped give them the illusion of "floating". Once completely dry, I lightly brushed on pearl luster dust to give them a bit of sheen. I used the wires to stick them down into the styrofoam.
The coffin was easy...just fondant tinted black, rolled out and the panels cut. Once they were dry I assembled them, using a dab of water for the "glue" to hold them together. I made some-somewhat-recognizable-bones and threw them in there.
For the entire base, I used a large piece of 2" thick styrofoam, cut to fit into a breakfast serving tray that I had. Since it was a centerpiece for my dinning room table, this allowed me to move it out of the way when necessary. I had a basic layout for the house and graveyard before I began, then I carved out where I wanted the graves to go. Once the house, bushes, walkway, and tree were in place, I coated the exposed base areas with buttercream icing and pressed in a mixture of graham cracker and cookie crumbs for the "dirt". I also piled some dirt beside some of the graves. Then I positioned all of the other "do-dads" (as I call them) and the finishing touches.
I had a lot of fun with this project, especially since I hadn't done a gingerbread house since I was a kid. I'm itching to do one for Christmas, but I always seem to get caught up in other projects as well as the usual holiday baking and never get around to it. Maybe this year? Anyway, I hope that you find this information helpful and useful for your own gingerbread project!