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13 Weird and Wonderful Gingerbread Houses

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Traditional alpine chalets, woodland cottages, and Victorian mansions made of gingerbread are impressive, to say the least. I know from experience that they are not easy to make. Yet some folks go the extra mile to make their gingerbread constructions stand out from the crowd by building them bigger, adding clever details, or redesigning them altogether. Some of these aren't even houses!

1. Robotzilla Gingerbread House

Instructables member boston09 entered their gingerbread competition last year with a gingerbread cottage featuring icing icicles and gumdrop shrubbery, plus one extra detail to make it stand out -the house is about to be attacked by a giant gingerbread robot!

2. Modern Architecture

Last year, the Creative Room in Vancouver invited architectural firms to submit gingerbread houses for a competition. Eleven houses were entered, and the finished buildings were auctioned off for charity. The modern design pictured is an entry from Nick Milkovich Architects, Inc. called the Sugar Shack.

3. NYC Landmarks

In 2008 Benita Larsson made gingerbread recreations of New York City landmarks -the Statue of Liberty and the Chrysler Building! The process of putting these together is documented in pictures.

4. Winchester Mystery Gingerbread House

Pam Sheridan won a gingerbread house contest in 1990 with this gingerbread replica of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. The confection is still on display there twenty years later. Image by Flickr user Sarah Nuehring.

5. Gingerbread Fenway Park

This recreation of Fenway Park made of gingerbread won top honors at the 2008 Boston Christmas Festival Gingerbread House Competition. The entry from Legal Sea Foods took four pastry chefs (David Topian, Angela Ernst, Brian Harper, and Zailda Smith) two weeks to construct. Get a closer look here. Surprisingly, it wasn't the first Fenway Park to be made of gingerbread that year.

6. Frank Lloyd Wright's Gingerbread House

It looks a lot like the Robie house in Chicago that Frank Lloyd Wright designed, but this version from Hurty Elbow is made of graham crackers. Close enough!

7. Sustainable Green Gingerbread Houses

The Terry* Project hosted a competition in 2007 called Bake for a Change that challenged bakers and designers to come up with gingerbread houses that would be environmentally-friendly if they were full-size homes. This entry from AdinaBob has its green features explained right on the picture. See all the entries in this post.

8. Dine-in Gingerbread House

When the prize is publicity, bigger is always better. Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario has a life size gingerbread house built every year! Every inch is edible, and families can make reservations to eat inside -but then you have to order off the menu instead of munching on the walls. Reservation fees go to charity. The gingerbread dining room will only be up until January 9th.

9. Bigger than Life-size

The Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort in Connecticut builds a giant gingerbread house every year. This year Executive Pastry Chef Lynn Mansel and her team are constructing a 28-foot tall marvel to outdo any they have made before. Their gingerbread house pictured here is from 2005.

10. Abandoned Building Site

Andrew Salomone created this gingerbread scene last year to draw attention to the many building projects in Ireland that were abandoned due to the global recession. It was displayed at an art show titled everything is as it seems to be in Cork City.

11. The White House

An annual gingerbread replica of the White House is a Washington tradition. The White House pastry chef works on the plans for months ahead of time to get the details right -and yes, the details change from year to year even if the building design itself doesn't. In 2009, Michelle Obama's vegetable garden was front and left-of-center in the finished display, which can be seen in the State Dining Room during the holiday season.

12. Gingerbread Trailer

This photograph, usually labeled "redneck gingerbread house", has been around so long (at least eight years) that no one knows who the creator is. The same is true for a somewhat more recent version which has modern details like a satellite dish.

13. Neiman Marcus

You can buy your own giant gingerbread house from (who else but) Neiman Marcus. It only costs 15,000 -although it doesn't specify what currency that is. If you have to ask, you obviously cannot afford it.

If you think you might try your hand at making a gingerbread house from scratch, you may want to read some tips and tricks for the first-time gingerbread house maker. If it falls apart, you can always eat the rubble!

See also: 11 Clever and Creative Gingerbread Structures

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Getty Images
17 Delightful Gingerbread Constructions
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Getty Images

A gingerbread house can be just a house, or it can be a medium for fantastic creations, from mansions to spaceships. Check out these wildly creative gingerbread sculptures that go beyond just four walls and a roof.

1. FANTASY CASTLE

Christine McConnell constructed this huge gingerbread castle for a Christmas photo spread at Food.com. The entire castle is edible, with the exception of the lights. That means all the structural supports are made of edible materials, and the window glass is just sugar. You can see an album of the castle, its construction, and the intricate details here.

2. HOGWARTS

I made Hogwarts out of Gingerbread!

Redditor louisesiuol and her sister made an amazing gingerbread version of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 2013 for a competition, which they obviously won. You can see more pictures of the gingerbread school here.

Also in 2013, Mimicafe Union in New York made a gingerbread version of Hogwarts's Great Hall for the Bake Christmas Wish Fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. You can check out photographs of that house here.

3. GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT

Walt Disney World's Grand Floridian Resort displays a grand gingerbread house every year, and here's the 2016 version. Creating the 16-foot-tall house required 800 pounds of flour and over a thousand pounds of honey.

4. FALLINGWATER

Coley via Flickr // CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This gingerbread replica of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater was an entry in Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay’s Gingerbread House Contest in 2007. Another 2007 version of the same house comes with pictures of the building process, while still another was spotted at a Utah competition in 2010.

5. ST. FRANCIS ENCHANTED CASTLE

The St. Francis Enchanted Castle is one of two castles on display now at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco. The other one is a castle made of sugar—both of which were crafted by Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Francois Houdré and his team.

6. AT-AT

Rachel Klemek at Black Market Bakery is responsible for this awesome gingerbread AT-AT, which is perfectly posed to look like it's trudging through the snowy planet Hoth from 1980's Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. The creation was exhibited at the Discovery Science Museum for Christmas 2011.

7. MENGER SPONGE

fungusamungus via Instructables // CC BY-NC-SA 2.5

Here's a delicious project for a hands-on lesson in geometry! Instructables user fungus amungus built this fractal gingerbread structure in the shape of a Menger sponge. Best of all, the directions are detailed so you can attempt your own version.

8. EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

Wally Gobetz via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

New York pastry chef Mark Tasker built this replica of the Empire State Building with gingerbread for the 2007 Christmas display at the New York Botanical Garden.

9. UP HOUSE

Dave King added Dum-Dums to his gingerbread house to recreate the balloon house from the 2009 Pixar movie Up! He posted pictures at Instructables, but there's a cautionary tale to learn from King's piece: Always build your gingerbread house in the location it will be displayed, because moving it can cause a disaster, especially when there are heavy candies attached.

10. ROBOTZILLA GINGERBREAD HOUSE

Instructables member boston09 entered a competition a few years ago with a gingerbread cottage featuring icing icicles and gumdrop shrubbery. One extra detail made this creation stand out: The house is about to be attacked by a giant graham cracker robot!

11. THE WINCHESTER MYSTERY HOUSE

Sarah Nuehring via Flickr // CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Pam Sheridan won a gingerbread house contest in 1990 with this replica of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. As of 2013, the durable confection was still on display.

12. EWOK VILLAGE

On the forest moon of Endor, under a canopy of trees, lies a village made of chocolate, breakfast cereal, and gingerbread! Darcy Yums constructed an entire Ewok village to display at a Christmas charity fundraiser. You can see pictures of the building process and the finished product at The Infinite Yums.

13. GINGERPRISE II

Redditor ejustice brings us a highly detailed gingerbread USS Enterprise (dubbed the Gingerprise) that is posed to look like it is crashing through the clouds. The ship got a viral boost when DuckPop edited it into a scene from 1994's Star Trek Generations. Tastiest. Space disaster. Ever.

14. GRAND AMERICA HOTEL

Pastry chef Xavier Baudinet constructed a 2-foot-tall house of gingerbread and Rice Krispies for the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. It contains 500 pounds of sugar, 800 pounds of royal icing, and 600 pounds of chocolate. Oh, and it's completely decorated inside with furniture made of chocolate! Check out this video report on the house.

15. FLYNN'S ARCADE

GeekFilter via Instructables // CC BY-NC-ND 2.5

Instructables member GeekFilter built a gingerbread version of the arcade from the 1982 movie Tron for their gingerbread contest in 2010. On the submission page, you'll see more pictures, including how this science-fiction gingerbread building stacks up against the real building used for the film.

16. DINE-IN GINGERBREAD HOUSE

Great Wolf Lodge has a life-size gingerbread house built every year, at all 13 locations! Every inch is edible, and families can make reservations to eat inside. Unfortunately, you have to order off the real menu instead of just munching on the walls. Reservation fees go to charity, and the gingerbread dining rooms will only be up until January 1.

17. THE WHITE HOUSE

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Part of the White House's extravagant Christmas display is the annual gingerbread replica of the executive mansion. This year's gingerbread White House was constructed by pastry chef Susie Morrison and her team. It contains 150 pounds of gingerbread and 20 pounds of icing. The State Dining Room also has a display of 56 other gingerbread houses, representing each state and U.S. territory.

Portions of this list were originally published in three posts from 2010 and 2012.

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Andrea at Sugar Swings!
8 Unconventional Ways to Decorate Gingerbread Men
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Andrea at Sugar Swings!

We often marvel at intricate and clever houses and other structures made of gingerbread, but simpler gingerbread men are also recipes for holiday success. Almost anyone can make and decorate the classically shaped cookies and they're also quite versatile. Here are a few ways people have upgraded the treat.

1. STORMTROOPERS

Sugar Swings! blogger Michelle carved out a set of Star Wars gingerbread men in the likeness of the various troopers in the series. The creations feature intricate icing that mimics the appearances of clone troopers, snow troopers, flamethrower troopers, and stormtroopers of both the First Order and the New Order. Even Captain Phasma is represented!

2. CRUMBS OF ANARCHY

For Christmas of 2013, Massachusetts-based bakery and Food Network Sugar Dome winner Cakes by Erin unveiled Crumbs of Anarchy, a collection of gingerbread men modeled after the characters on the FX drama Sons of Anarchy. The sweet replicas of Jax, Mark, Tig, and more characters even impressed a member of the show’s cast!

3. DEEP FRIED

This set of cookies from Oh, Bite it! proves that looks really aren't everything. The recipe improves on the store-bought formula by deep frying the treats and sprinkling them with powdered sugar.

4. SUPERHEROES

There's power in colorful icing. In 2011, Michelle at Sugar Swings! (who also made the stormtrooper-themed cookies) upgraded the standard shape into super hero gingerbread men and women with elaborate and vivid designs.

5. YOGA CLASS

You don’t always need detailed icing to make gingerbread men impressive. Patti Paige of Baked Ideas broke out of the mold with her gingerbread men in yoga poses. The creative cookie cutters (which you can buy here) bring Om in the form of 20 yoga poses, including tree, downward dog, wheel, and more.

6. UPSIDE DOWN

Stuck with the standard cookie cutters? Change things up by turning them upside-down. A few well-placed lines of icing, a red M&M, and two chocolate chip eyes transform each upside-down man into Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Get the recipe and instructions at She Knows.

7. FALLEN MEN

It's hard to bake gingerbread men without a few casualties— like a broken cookie limb or two. Candy Caldwell of Reykjavik, Iceland, added icing to injury, illustrating the gingerbread and their faux suffering. Caldwell submitted this picture to National Geographic and made the Photo of the Day in early 2010.

8. DAY OF THE DEAD

Andrea at Cupookie got twice as festive with her gingerbread men, merging decorations that represent two cold-weather holidays: Christmas and the Day of the Dead. A couple of years later, she followed up with a Day of the Dead gingerbread woman.

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