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Haunted Gingerbread Houses


JeanneCake
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Today, while on the premise of last minute school shopping, I succumbed to the urge to buy decorative Halloween candy thinking I would make a haunted Gingerbread house and these black and white caramel things would look great as tombstones, some candy pumpkins, candy corn in various dark colors; a whole big bag of black jelly beans! (that was really an indulgence since I am no fan of black jelly beans. At least I won't eat them while I'm imagining doing this project....)

Anyway.... I've been searching around for some patterns. I have a few books on gingerbread houses, they're ok; but I was wondering what creations you have found or made. I thought Martha Stewart had done one a few years ago, but I haven't been able to find it with a google image search.

I did find an interesting pattern at Franky's Attic page

Sorry to rush the holiday, but these things take time :wink:

ETA: Does anyone have the Martha Stewart magazine with the directions and/or picture of the Haunted House? It looked a little like the house from the Psycho movie (but this is going on memory and I could be very wrong). It's not on the MS site. I tried checking Amazon and I can't find it in the index of her Halloween book so I am all out of ideas on where to find this.... ) Thanks.

Edited by JeanneCake (log)
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oh yeah!

I'm in, I love halloween and try to persuade the others here to embrace the holiday spirit (sorry, couldn't help myself) too.

so.. gingerbread houses, I have to come clean, traditionally I've been really unlucky with them, mostly with the icing cement actually, it doesnt glue/hold/just makes the biscuit soggy and crumbles. but I have time to experiment I guess.

we dont really get much halloween candy here in the uk, so perhaps I'll have to try some alternatives... we'll see! :biggrin:

Edited by binkyboots (log)

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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I got frustrated with gingerbread construction a few years ago after spending weeks making a plan for a huge (covered the entire kitchen table) christmas castle with the main castle, walls, towers, courtyard, etc. and baking and assembling all of the components. I then got up really early christmas morning to have it assembled and ready to go when my gf's daughter got up. It all worked out pretty much exactly as I pictured it and I was happy. The little one woke up, came out of her room, was standing there with big eyes looking at the presents under the tree when a nasty sound came from the kitchen. I ran in to see what was going on and there was my gf's cat trying to find a comfy place to sleep in the castle and knocking several things over/off and causing a lot of breakage in the process.

I haven't really been inspired to mess with it again since then but maybe I'll join you in this one if I can find the time. I'm not a particularly good cake decorator so I doubt mine would be anything too fancy but it might be fun anyway.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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so.. gingerbread houses, I have to come clean, traditionally I've been really unlucky with them, mostly with the icing cement actually, it doesnt glue/hold/just makes the biscuit soggy and crumbles.  but I have time to experiment I guess.

What kind of icing were you using? The best thing to use is royal icing, because it sticks well and dries like cement. It sounds like you were using something else...?

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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or melted white chocolate, for those times when you should have started earlier than you are :wink: and you need it to dry faster! It can be messier than royal icing, and is probably not a good choice for something very large, but for gluing walls, doors, etc, from the inside, it worked really well for me last Christmas season.

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it could be that, I was using a sugar syrup cement (as instructed in a book I had) but I think from seeing you say that and also from reading a recipe from an older book on baking cookies that royal icing should be the glue of choice.

I can colour it right? because snowy white seems innapropriate for halloween! but green slime or dripping gore, that would be ok :cool:

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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Yes, you can color it any color you like. There's a black gel coloring that Wilton makes, but I've not used it, so i don't know how much you would have to use to get it to really be dark and black instead of just greyish.

Be sure to take pictures for us!

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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or melted white chocolate, for those times when you should have started earlier than you are  :wink:  and you need it to dry faster!  It can be messier than royal icing, and is probably not a good choice for something very large, but for gluing walls, doors, etc, from the inside, it worked really well for me last Christmas season.

did you use coating compound (candy melts)? i would think that untempered melted white chocolate would take longer to set up than royal icing that is made particularly dry.

also, if you're concerned about your cookies getting soggy, you can also spread a thin coating of the royal icing on the back of the slabs (walls) and let this dry. this acts like a seal on the back preventing the absorption of some moisture.

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THere's a really cool haunted gingerbread house in one of Teresa LAyman's books (IIRC it's in 'Gingerbread for all seasons'). She colors the dough partly with black food coloring, has gingerbread piped trees that look like they have dead branches, ghosts, spider webs, the whole thing. I do thinhk it's really a great pattern.

I happen to have a Martha Stewart pattern for a haunted house as well. The roof is shingled with black licorice pieces. It is a pattern that was available through her web shop (when she still had it) and a friend gave it to me as a gift once when it finally was on clearance. It was rediculously expensive before. I don't think I ever saw that pattern on the website for free though..

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did you use coating compound (candy melts)?  i would think that untempered melted white chocolate would take longer to set up than royal icing that is made particularly dry.

I use Felchlin's Ultra Gloss coating for the cookies and it worked perfectly for the gingerbread house I needed to finish the same day for delivery.

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I had the Martha Stewart magazine with the photograph of the haunted house, but I would have to do some searching to put my hands on it. I know that I didn't throw it out. Actually, that issue inspired me to start making Halloween themed gingerbread houses a few years ago. If I find it I will let you know.

Meanwhile, I know that this isn't what you are looking for, but you might consider these two patterns:

Ray Keim's "Haunted Dimensions" Phantom Manor is reminiscent of the Martha Stewart house: http://www.haunteddimensions.raykeim.com/index500.html

Ravensblight Manor is a paper model, but you could adapt it for use as a gingerbread pattern: http://ravensblight.com/Manor.htm

I have links to lots of other gingerbread house patterns, photographs and decorating ideas at the Yahoo group I run, if anyone is interested: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/justgingerbreadhouses/

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks!

I ended up doing a holiday gingerbread house for a magazine photo shoot, which was fine (I found all the leftover candy canes from last year, good thing this was for show only!!) but I still have the bug about a haunted house, which I will attempt after Columbus Day. This coming week is too hectic with weddings.

The patterns look great, and I'm looking forward to it, especially after all the fondant, lace, and gum paste flowers I'll be living with all week.

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  • 1 month later...

Mine didn't. The catering sideline to my regular job that I've been trying to get going was slowly plodding along and then suddenly caught on in the past few weeks and I haven't had much time for playing. The only non-work-related baking I've managed to sneak in recently was Kerry's apple cake recipe she was nice enough to share. I was hoping to see some cool stuff show up here though.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I didn't make a haunted house, but I've been averaging one large gingerbread McMansion a week (for various displays in the gourmet stores)!

And, the magazine shoot for which I did the holiday version in place of the Halloween version? They canned it until January. No one buys a gingerbread house in January :hmmm:

Did anyone see the Food Network challenge about Haunted Gingerbread Houses? Wish I'd seen that back in Sept! I loved the one from Riveria Bakehouse, and thought the one from Just Cake's assistant was a little too... perfect? I think it was a tough call between the two. And Elizabeth Falkner's cave! I don't know what I enjoyed more - watching the judges struggle to "get it" (they should have read her book first!) or her build it.

Edited by JeanneCake (log)
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