Keep A Gingerbread House From Drying Out So Fast?

Baking By tigerhawk83 Updated 24 Dec 2011 , 2:11am by GeorgiaGingerbread

tigerhawk83 Posted 23 Dec 2011 , 1:49am
post #1 of 6

I see the folks who win gingerbread house contests say that they have been working on the house for months - but it doesn't fall apart - they can even drive them hours at that age. I can't keep one more than 3 weeks before the royal icing is SOOOO dry that the pieces just start falling off. Does anyone know what tricks these professionals use to keep the house together longer? Would adding glycerin to the RI help - I've been using the antonio74 RI recipe. I don't want to coat it in inedible polyurethane - I don't want to keep it for years, plus I doubt that would really help hold it together. I'd just like it to last 6-8 weeks instead of 2-3 weeks before it starts falling apart.

5 replies
poohsmomma Posted 23 Dec 2011 , 2:25am
post #2 of 6

I just use the Wilton meringue powder to make my royal icing, and I don't have any trouble with it staying together. I had one that I kept for three years (!) making sure to wrap it up and store it in a plastic container each year. It finally bit the dust last year, so I got to make a new one this year.

GeorgiaGingerbread Posted 24 Dec 2011 , 1:36am
post #3 of 6

Are you speaking of the National Gingerbread House Competition by chance?

Is the problem you're having the actual gingerbread walls not holding together or that the decorations are falling off the gingerbread? The Wilton recipe royal icing works beautifully for holding gingerbread together. I have used it for accents, but it does tend to "pop" off after awhile. I use an edible lacquer that tends to help prolong the life of my projects. But I think most of us competitors tend to have the same problem with royal icing being piped onto gingerbread and not staying on for long. That's why I use fondant or gumpaste mostly, because temperature changes do not affect them as much and I can get it to last a really long time.

Do not add glycerine to your royal icing. It will just make it softer and that would not be a good thing because it would lose it's stability.

You can also use isomalt to glue your house together. I used it for my gingerbread piece this year and it worked wonderfully.

Also, the key to getting our pieces to last months, if not years, and making it through a long drive is to use a construction grade gingerbread.

I hope this helped you a little bit! Good luck!

GeorgiaGingerbread Posted 24 Dec 2011 , 1:41am
post #4 of 6

Are you speaking of the National Gingerbread House Competition by chance?

Is the problem you're having the actual gingerbread walls not holding together or that the decorations are falling off the gingerbread? The Wilton recipe royal icing works beautifully for holding gingerbread together. I have used it for accents, but it does tend to "pop" off after awhile. I use an edible lacquer that tends to help prolong the life of my projects. But I think most of us competitors tend to have the same problem with royal icing being piped onto gingerbread and not staying on for long. That's why I use fondant or gumpaste mostly, because temperature changes do not affect them as much and I can get it to last a really long time.

Do not add glycerine to your royal icing. It will just make it softer and that would not be a good thing because it would lose it's stability.

You can also use isomalt to glue your house together. I used it for my gingerbread piece this year and it worked wonderfully.

Also, the key to getting our pieces to last months, if not years, and making it through a long drive is to use a construction grade gingerbread.

I hope this helped you a little bit! Good luck!

tigerhawk83 Posted 24 Dec 2011 , 1:51am
post #5 of 6

Thanks - it is the walls that don't hold together long enough. I am curious to try the isomalt as glue - do you just cook it until it's melted? I do make my RI with Wilton meringue powder, not raw eggs so I'm glad to know it isn't my RI. I think I'm using construction grade gingerbread - got my recipe from a gingerbread house website.

I am talking about the National Gingerbread competition - would love to attend it sometime just to see all the houses in person. Doing my first gingerbread house 5-6 years ago is what got me into cake decorating in the first place.

GeorgiaGingerbread Posted 24 Dec 2011 , 2:11am
post #6 of 6

Get the isomalt sticks by CakePlay. They are so easy to work with. Just melt in the microwave and go to work.

I've been competing at that competition for the last 2 years. It is so much fun and I have really enjoyed it! It is so interesting to see all the different pieces that come in the door. HGTV filmed it this year and they are re-airing the special tomorrow. All Out American Christmas at 5:00pm. We are featured about half way through the program.

Definitely try to make it one year, it is so worth it!

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