This year I decided to create a gingerbread house for the Orlando Museum of Art’s annual Festival of Trees event. I wanted to design something unique, cool to look at, and most importantly… delicious. Check out my Steampunk Gingerbread House Pinterest board to see artifacts from Victorian architecture and the steampunk movement that I found inspiring.
Here’s how I did it.
Updated June 2015 – Finally – Here is the PDF I created of my design template. Print onto tabloid sized paper (11″ x 17″) for best results and build your own clock tower gingerbread house!
I first sketched out my design idea, and then cut a scale model out of foam board to use as a template.
I used tape and string to piece the foam together into a full scale model, mainly to test out how well it could stand on its own. It passed the test!
For the dough, I used this recipe for structural gingerbread dough, which worked out great. It was easy to work with, didn’t stretch or warp during baking, and used more cost-efficient ingredients. I used unbleached flower and dark Karo to keep the color deep brown, and I also followed MarySC1000’s advice in the reviews section of the recipe, which called for cinnamon and ginger.
I took apart the model and used it as a template to cut out the pieces from gingerbread dough.
To create candy windows, I ground up hard candy using a NutriBullet with the milling blade. I made 4 colors–clear, yellow, orange, and purple (which I ended up not using).
Once the gingerbread walls had cooled off from baking, I filled each window with the candy powder.
To create a gradient effect on the clock face, I mixed orange, yellow, and clear into each other to blend the colors as they melted.
The finished product turned out great!
I baked the roof pieces (4 triangles) and decorated them with Little Debbie nutty bars, using royal icing to glue the pieces on.
Next I cut out gears for inside the clock, using the stencils I found here as a guide. I used a chapstick cap, highlighter cap, alligator clip, and a straw to punch out different sizes of holes inside the gears.
To decorate the clock face, I printed out an image of this antique clock face, (included in the downloadable PDF template) and traced the design onto the hard candy using black royal icing. I added an M&M and Reese’s Minis to decorate.
Next I baked and decorated clouds inspired by this design.
I glued reindeer cookies (from this Wilton Christmas Cookie Cutter set) and clouds onto the front and side panel using royal icing. I baked small cookie “spacers” to glue between the reindeer and the panel, so that it gave the reindeer the appearance of floating.
I taped the foam board roof model together to act as a support for the gingerbread roof pieces. Then I leaned the cookie pieces against the foam board and glued them in place with royal icing.
I glued together gears, connectors, and more cookie spacers into a design that fit inside the third panel’s archways. This was a bit tricky since there were multiple lays of cookies that needed to be level with each other, and remain intact once the icing dried and I lifted the panel.
Once everything had dried, I began assembling the side panels. The trick is to use heavy cans or bottles to support the walls while you apply the icing.
I used royal icing to glue together the walls of the clock tower.
I reinforced the seams from the inside with more icing.
Once the walls were glued together, I added some Victorian embellishments with the royal icing, using these designs as inspiration.
Meanwhile, I traced the bottom of the roof pyramid and cut out a piece of foam board to use as a base to support it. I glued the pyramid onto the foam base using royal icing. I was able to mask all the foam board seams with royal icing, so that it blended in with the cookie pieces.
After 12 hours, all the icing was solid and sturdy enough to transport the gingerbread house. I transported the tower and the roof separately, and placed the roof on top of the base once it arrived at its destination–The Orlando Museum of Art’s Festival of Trees!
It’s the stroke of midnight…
…and here come Santa’s reindeer!
Happy baking and Happy Holidays! -KF