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Over-the-Top Gingerbread Houses

Gallons of icing, pounds of chocolate and countless sheets of gingerbread went into building these 10 inventive and incredibly detailed creations, from a towering homage to an '80s comedy film classic (right) to an entire German-Hawaiian gingerbread village.

Pied Piper Gingerbread House


Over-the-Top Gingerbread Houses: Pied Piper Gingerbread House
Photo courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

Location: The New York Botanical Garden's 2009 Gingerbread Adventures (Bronx, NY)

The mother-daughter duo behind Ardsley, New York's Riviera Bake House took inspiration from daughter Liv Hansen's favorite childhood fairytale to create their two-foot tall structure. No candy was used to decorate; Liv instead completed detail work using a pipeable, watered-down recipe for gingerbread. She sculpted all of the mice and the Pied Piper from marzipan and constructed the roof from cereal. The team dedicated five days to the project, using approximately 10 pounds of gingerbread and 2-3 gallons of icing.

Santa's German Gingerbread Village


Over-the-Top Gingerbread Houses: Santa's German Gingerbread Village
Photo courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Waikiki

Location: The Sheraton Princess Ka'iulani Hotel, 2010 (Honolulu, HI)

Hotel executive chef Ralf Bauer and a team of culinary architects spent over 660 hours designing and constructing a gingerbread village that paid homage to both Bauer's native Germany and to old Hawaii. Medieval churches, bell towers, train stations, a carousel and skating rink mingled with iconic Hawaiian structures like the Kawaiha'o mission church and the magnificent Iolani Palace. The winter wonderland stood over 14 1/2 feet high and 24 feet wide and was made with 200 gallons of icing, 100 pounds of dark chocolate, 30 pounds of white chocolate and 60 sheets of gingerbread.

First Family Holiday House


Over-the-Top Gingerbread Houses: First Family Holiday House
Photo courtesy PeakDefinition.com

Location: The Grove Park Inn & Spa's 2009 Gingerbread Competition (Asheville, NC)

Carolina Montoya and husband Fernado Puga spent 302 hours over the course of two months to create their gingerbread house. The traditionally-designed structure featured President Barack Obama, who appeared to be climbing out the window and up onto the chimney with a bag full of toys. Montoya and Puga's all-edible entry was constructed of gingerbread, fondant, gum paste, coconut, Rice Krispies cereal and breath strips for window panes.

A Christmas Story


Over-the-Top Gingerbread Houses: A Christmas Story
Photo courtesy of Sheraton Seattle

Location: The Seattle Sheraton's 2009 Gingerbread Village (Seattle, WA)

Prompted by the theme "Reel Christmas," a team of Seattle Sheraton culinary staff and area architecture firm DLR Group created this cheeky homage to the 1983 Christmas comedy film classic A Christmas Story. Weighing around 200 pounds, the gingerbread structure featured edible reenactments of memorable movie scenes—including fondant versions of Ralphie and friend Flick by the flagpole in an amazingly detailed gingerbread neighborhood, and a recreation of the film's iconic leg lamp sporting licorice "fringe."

Baba Yaga Gingerbread House


Over-the-Top Gingerbread Houses: Baba Yaga Gingerbread House

Photo courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden


Location: The New York Botanical Garden's 2009 Gingerbread Adventures (Bronx, NY)

Irina Brandler, a Russian immigrant and owner of Sugar and Spice Bake Shop in Bronx, NY, headed a team of four bakers to make a gingerbread house for Baba Yaga, a witch-like character from Russian folklore who lives in a hut that stands on chicken legs. Irina's version of the house stood more than two feet tall and featured a roof covered in shredded wheat cereal and Necco Wafers®, pretzel fences and ladder, a trail formed with Boston Baked Beans candy, and Christmas trees made of frosted ice cream cones and pretzel rods. Three domes on the top of the house were all shaped out of fondant—one dome made of a Hershey's chocolate kiss melted and had to be replaced.


slideshow Slideshow: More Over-the-Top Gingerbread Houses


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