This year, I entered a piece of cookie architecture in the Boston Christmas Festival’s Gingerbread House Competition, which helped raise money for Housing Families Inc., an organization that strives to prevent homelessness by providing shelter and affordable housing for local at-risk families.
My entry won Best in Show and was then auctioned off at the 25th Anniversary of Housing Families Inc. Gala in Boston, Mass. The piece was generously bought in auction by D’arcy Goldman, Principal of Humboldt Storage and Moving. She gifted to the Charlestown Working Theater, where it wouldn’t fit! So it was gifted forward to the Cooperative Bank in Charlestown, Massachusetts, where it is now on display for the holiday season. Courtesy of manager, Tom Coots and team, the friendly neighborhood Cooperative Bank is all dressed up with a festive gingerbread cookie theme. So if you are near Beantown, go check it out! And be sure to bring your kids!
It took me 3 ½ weeks to engineer this edible interpretation of Santa’s Workshop with a cut-away backside revealing the toy and gift operation within. The piece measures 3 ½ feet wide by 3 ½ feet tall.
The ingredients are: gingerbread cookies, royal icing, shaved coconut, gumpaste, pretzels, jelly beans, Sprees, Chiclets gum, sour fruit strips, candy legos, candy rocks, turtle crunch, marshmallows, and nonpareils.
The workshop includes a sports equipment wing full of baseball bats, baseballs, footballs, basketballs, tennis rackets, and tennis balls…
as well as a wing for present storage, legos, and stacking ring toys.
On the second floor, there is a gift wrapping station.
The figurines and smaller details like these teddy bears are made of gumpaste. Can you find what I missed in the above photo?
The workshop’s ladders are made of pretzel rods + pretzel sticks.
I follow this recipe and technique
Gingerbread House Dough Recipe & Baking Instructions
The reindeer antlers are made of grape stems. The fireplace is made of jelly beans.
Follow this link to read about how I created the template and coded the parts: DIY Gingerbread House Templates and Coding System
Once the gingerbread house paper template is complete, I disassemble the cardboard structure and use each piece of it to trace its corresponding gingerbread panel. Each baked-off cookie panel is then decorated with royal icing and candy then allowed to dry before assembly.
There are a total of 163 pieces of gingerbread in the structure. The workshop consists of five different houses, all of which nest together like a puzzle.
VIDEO: Gingerbread House Competition 2012
Above is a video of that was filmed at the competition after a 48 hour marathon of assembly during which I did not sleep. Fortunately, my house made it to the Boston Convention Center in once piece!
Cheers to all the participants, organizers, and judges who made this competition fun and possible. It was an honor being a part of the event and helping out the Housing Families Inc. cause.
Happy holiday baking adventures from the wee elves at Wicked Goodies!
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Where do i get this template?!!! I love a challenge! <3 I love your website by the way!
Thank you! I made it up. You can see how I do that here: How to Make a Custom Paper Template for a Gingerbread House.
I’d like to pass on 1 tip I found if I may. Instead of parchment paper, purchase the flexible chopping boards and roll and store the dough on those. They have a smooth and rough side & they’re pretty inexpensive and re-usabe. I purchased some at Walmart and I’m sure the dollar stores will carry them as well.
Hi Kristin, I’ve just downloaded your gingerbread book and looking forward to hopefully this Christmas to execute a house! I just wanted to say your books are so informative and have helped me out in my hobby baking/decorating endeavours!! Keep writing those books and I look forward to seeing what else you have designed for the upcoming holiday season!
love your website and all your tips are going to help me like you have no idea. thanks guys
I so love your Santa’s workshop with all the brilliant details. Thanks for sharing all the means of getting to the finish. Truly a work of art from the heart!
Hey K, as always, outstanding work!!!! Hope your holidays are awesome!
This truely is a labour of love, you are so talented, congratulations for your best in show award, and many blessings be on you for helping such a deserving charity. You will have many, many more success stories to share with us all. x
just amazing 🙂