Monday, December 10, 2012

Gingerbread Crystal Palace

When the girls were young, every year we would decorate a gingerbread house.  At first, the girls enjoyed eating the candies used to decorate the house more than anything.  In their tweens, they could decorate the house by themselves. 

This year in trying to keep with the silver, white and snowy theme made it a bit more challenging to decorate the house.  Always up for a challenge, I looked to Michael's to purchase adhesive crystals that are so popular in scrap booking and card making these days.  Now, onto the back story.

When I was 15, my dear Grandmother helped me make a gingerbread house from scratch. She was famous for making at least 20-25 types of homemade Christmas cookies for the season.  As kids, her grandchildren would take turns visiting her house on weekends to help with making a particular cookie.  I remember how much patience she had.  We would have flour and powdered sugar all over the counters and floor.

Here is an old copy of one of her cookie lists that I found after I moved into her home.  She actually used the same old yellowed envelope for different years for the cookies. 

In the year 1980, Grandma was 84 years old and she was still baking at least 11 types of cookies. Amazing!!!!

Back to the gingerbread house, we rolled out the dough for the sides, roof and chimney out of homemade lepkuchen.  Once baked in her oven, we created the house with lots of white frosting.  I recall decorating the back of the house with a flower shaped cookie that I made into a stained glass window.  I was very proud of the results.  This was I think one of those defining moments when I knew that I wanted to create spectacular foods in the kitchen.

Years back I came upon a little trick to ease the job of building the gingerbread house.  The glue gun. 
 These days the girls don't eat the houses.  I cannot recall one year that they ever ate any of the gingerbread.  It is usually so petrified.  The candy was enough for them.  While using frosting all those years prior, I would have to do two sides at a time because the gloppy frosting took so long to dry.  Now, I just glue gun all the parts together rather quickly.  Here is one of the first pictures of the house put together.
Don't worry about the gloppy corners.  They will be covered up by white icing.  The insides of the house will never show.
                                                 The house completed sans decoration.
                                        Here is where the fun begins.  Crystals galore...........

Can you see the crack down the side of the window?  It is so small no one will ever notice.  It came cracked out of the box.  Improvise I say.

I got a bit carried away on the back.  Notice the dried glue?  It will disappear once the white frosting is added.

                                   The double heart makes the house even more personal.

                                     Next, frosted shredded wheat  cereal finishes off the roof.

Once white frosting was piped into the crevices, the house was complete. Set upon a vintage crystal cake stand, the gingerbread house shimmers amidst the candle light.

                                 Stay tuned to see the entire crystal Christmas foyer display.  Here is a tease.


Disclaimer:  Sorry to say the girls won't be able to feast on the gingerbread house come January.  No candy was used in making of this palace.


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