Leif's Gingerbread Houses

Here I post pictures of the gingerbread houses I have made over the years. The earlier one were created with the collaboration of my father.

The Rules:

1980 Crow Hill Road House

This is the house where I grew up until age 11. It was a converted ice storage house; in the wintertime they used to mine ice from nearby ponds and store it in this house. A prior owner had added a greenhouse ceiling to the dining room; my parents replace it with a solid roof with skylights and added a master bedroom addition to the rear. A waterfall next to the house was visible through a two-story high window from the living room. I spent many days as a child playing in that waterfall; wintertime as well as summertime.

I was fortunate in having floor plans and elevations for this house. Construction of the gingerbread pieces was as simple as tracing the blueprints onto the gingerbread dough. It is best to do this tracing directly on the baking sheet, i.e. place a large sheet of gingerbread dough on the baking sheet and trace through the blueprint paper with a dull knife. Doing this on a counter and then lifting the cut-out piece of gingerbread will result in the floppy thin dough distorting...

Front of house on Crow Hill Road.

House from the side. The waterfall was done in blue icing.

The rear of the house. Mint green candies corresponded to evergreen shrubbery we had to trim every year in the back yard.

View from above the back yard.

Closeup of the waterfall.

1988 Mary Lyons 4; my Swarthmore College dormitory

This was my dormitory sophomore year at Swarthmore College.

I obtained floor plans of the building from the college maintenance folks; they had no elevations so I photographed the sides of the building using slide film. Then I projected these slides on a wall and moved the slide projector back and forth until the projected image was of a scale which matched the floor plan and I traced the walls, including windows and doors, onto sheets of paper. Like the building Mary Lyons 2, which perished in a fire in the 1960's, this gingerbread version of Mary Lyons 4 perished in a fire. After many weeks on display, a gingerbread house is not very tasty...so a fire is a more amusing end.

1991 a Cathedral

I wished to build a gingerbread cathedral, despite the naysaying of my family. Thus I re-read David McCauley's book on cathedral construction and designed a simple cathedral loosely based on the fictitious one in his book.
It is always helpful to have paper templates for almost all of the gingerbread pieces to be made. The paper templates also allow one to assemble a partial or full paper version of the building to help visualize tricky roof intersections and whatnot. Construction of a gingberbread house based on a real building with blueprints is easy: trace the blueprints onto the gingerbread dough on a baking sheet. Construction of a fictitious building can be more difficult, as one has to devise one's own "blueprints." Here are two photos of the paper templates I made:

Partway through the baking process I removed the baking sheets from the oven and inserted pieces of candy into the window areas of the cathedral. By artful arrangement of colored pieces of candy one can actually form primitive stained glass designs. Here is a photo of the cathedral partway through construction:

Note that most of the roofs are missing. I had to make the main roof in two sections, as a single piece would have been difficult.

I made the flying buttresses out of gingerbread, as candy canes or other candy would have been too thick to be to scale.

The front. The roof pieces over the apse are not yet added. Note the door pieces lying on the "ground".

Note the aluminum foil inside the apse door. I put foil there to prevent melted sugar from dripping on the plywood base; melted sugar is tough to remove from plywood.

Icing the cathedral. I decided that the icing should all be in white to not clash with the stained glass windows.



Right side.

Left side

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