Witch’s Two-Faced Gingerbread House

Gingerbread Candy Cottage

This bewitching gingerbread house, entitled, “Justice So Sweet,was designed and constructed by champion cookie architect, Pat Ashley Howard.

See Pat Ashley in this video: Gingerbread Artists Construct 100% Edible Houses At The NGH Competition | NBC Nightly News

In 2018, it was awarded Top 10 Winner at the Omni Grove Park Inn’s 2007 National Gingerbread House Competition in Asheville, North Carolina and was featured on the Food Network television show, Gingerbread Giants 2


The design is a sequel to classic story of Hansel and Gretel. In this sequel, justice gets served to the witch.

Gingerbread Candy Cottage

The Enticing Facade
(It’s a trap!)

Gingerbread Candy Cottage

The modeling chocolate witch who lived inside this cottage wore ordinary clothes and acted like a nice old lady. But a child welfare officer had caught on to her schemes and was paying a visit. So was the tax collector.

Gingerbread Candy Cottage

The front of the witch’s cottage was decorated with colorful, sugary sweets including gingerbread men, peanut butter cookies, hard candies and lollipops, made to lure innocent children into the yard.

Gingerbread Candy Cottage

Through a gelatin sheet window, a beckoning display of baked treats lined the shelves including cupcakes, pies, tarts, and frosted layer cakes.

Spooky Back Yard

Spooky Halloween Gingerbread House

The back yard of the witch’s gingerbread house was the complete opposite of the front. A black cauldron awaited meaty bones. A cage for trapping children lay open and ready to lock a small human behind its bars. A wood stove burned hot. All children who ventured this far were never seen again. All except Hansel and Gretel.

Spooky Halloween Gingerbread House

In the witches back yard, the grass was black and the leaves were dead. The shingles were ramshackle, the windows were crooked, and the wood was weathered. Naked vines twisted around porch columns. A grim reaper holding a scythe hid in the shadows of a cookie tower, waiting to kill the witch.

Spooky Halloween Gingerbread House

This is what her house looked like the moment before justice was served.

Pat Ashley Howard’s Story

Adventures of a Gingerbread House Champion

Chapter 8 – The Pressure Is On

In the Artist's Words

Now we come to 2018 and I am itching to compete again. When word got out that I would be competing I was contacted by the Food Network who wanted to follow me, and four other competitors, through the competition for a television special called Gingerbread Giants. The pressure was on and I wanted to present my talents in the best light. They filmed at my home in Florida and then again at the competition in Asheville.

Gingerbread Candy Cottage

This time I thought I would go with a traditional but very whimsical theme. I decided to create the Witch’s house from the story of Hansel and Gretel… but with a very big twist. Instead of the two children coming to the Witch’s house, there was the tax collector, child welfare, code enforcement and the Grim Reaper all coming to pay her a visit. I’d never done character faces before but I had taken some modeling chocolate sculpting lessons from the very talented gingerbread house master Ann Bailey and felt ready to give it a try. I also tried another technique of creating edible fabric to make the drapey clothes for the Witch and the Grim Reaper. I googled how to make edible fabric and eventually modified the formula to fit my criteria. The front of the house was inviting, colorful, and covered in every kind of sweets you could imagine.

Spooky Halloween Gingerbread House

The back of the house was dark, wicked and scary, complete with a bone filled cauldron, a brick oven and cage with a lock and key.

The End (for now…)

Through the years the talent of the competition has risen to a spectacular level. I didn’t win in 2018 although I did, once again, make the top 10. Over the years I’ve won 4 of the 7 competitions I’ve entered, so not a bad record. 

Happy Gingering everyone!

Gingerbread House Champion

Email Pat Ashley Howard: gingerbreadbuilder@gmail.com

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