Take a closer look at Kristen’s (wickedgoodies.net) Best In Show gingerbread showpiece. The planning and preparation that went into this piece are admirable. There are 163 individual pieces to make five buildings and the whole thing stands 3 1/2 feet tall!  Keep reading to learn how she made the whole thing happen.

It took me three and a half weeks to engineer this edible interpretation of Santa’s Workshop with a cut-away backside revealing the toy
and gift operation within. The piece measured 3 ½ feet wide by 3 ½ feet tall.

The ingredients were: gingerbread cookies, royal icing, shaved coconut, gumpaste, pretzels, jelly beans, Sprees, Chiclets gum, sour fruit strips, candy legos, candy rocks, turtle crunch, marshmallows, and nonpareils.

The workshop included a sports equipment wing full of baseball bats, baseballs, footballs, basketballs, tennis rackets, and tennis balls…

as well as a wing for present storage, legos, and stacking ring toys.

On the second floor, there was a gift wrapping station.

The figurines and smaller details like these teddy bears were made of gumpaste.

The reindeer antlers were made of grape stems.

The fireplace was made of jelly beans.

There were a total of 163 pieces of gingerbread in the structure. The workshop consisted of five different houses, all of which nested
together like a puzzle.

To engineer a giant cookie structure like this, I begin by imagining up, cutting out and taping together a cardboard template of the design.

To keep track of all the pieces, I label each one using a 3-digit coding system that goes like this: each stack is first identified by a letter,
A-E. That letter becomes the first digit in each piece’s code. The second digit represents the floor number so in stack A for instance there is A1 (first floor) A2 (second floor) A3 (roof/attic) and A4 (chimney). The third digit indicates the orientation: F for front-facing, B for back-facing, L or left, or R for right side piece.

So for example the clock piece was coded C2F because it was in the C stack on the 2nd floor and was a Front-facing piece.

Once the 3D blueprint was set, I disassembled the cardboard structure and used each piece of it to trace its corresponding gingerbread
panel. Each baked-off cookie panel was then decorated with royal icing and candy. For several days, they were allowed to dry before
assembly.

Above is a video of me that was filmed at the competition after a 48 hour marathon of assembly during which I did not sleep. Fortunately, my house made it to the Seaport World Trade Center in once piece!

Cheers to all the participants, organizers, and judges who made the competition fun and possible. It was an honor being part of the
event and helping out the Housing Families Inc. cause.

Check out the Wicked Goodies blog for more stories and tutorials about gingerbread house building: www.wickedgoodies.com

Happy holiday baking adventures from the wee elves at Wicked Goodies!