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Friday, December 11, 2009

The Most Elaborate Gingerbread Houses in the U.S.

Gingerbread houses are good for two things: eating and ogling. And while it's fun to get a sugar rush from sloppy homemade concoctions, some gingerbread houses are just too beautiful ― or too weird ― to eat. Allow us to present some of the most ogle-worthy gingerbread houses out there. Try not to eat through your computer monitor.


8. Earthship Lollipop
This ultra-green gingerbread house, designed by Khai Foo and Elise Young, has rammed-icing walls, a gum-paste roof membrane, sugar solar panels, and edible windmills. According to its designers, the Earthship Lollipop is the first LEAD (Leadership in Edible Architectural Design) gingerbread house. And this tongue-in-cheek example of green architecture can be yours ― if you're willing to pay more than the current highest bid of $50.99

7. SantaBucks
Cheesy? Yes, but it's hard to begrudge Maryanne Garcia for her Christmas-themed take on Starbucks. The design won first place in the "Authentic Reproduction of a Significant Building" category at Peddlers Village's annual gingerbread house competition.


6. Gingerbread White House
This 56- by 29-inch monster of a gingerbread house, constructed by White House pastry chef Bill Yosse, contains 140 pounds of gingerbread coated with 250 pounds of white chocolate. Enough said.


5. Life-Size Gingerbread House
The Ritz Carlton in Greensboro, Ga., might win the prize for biggest gingerbread house, with a mammoth model that measures 9 feet tall and 14 feet wide. Some fun facts about the house: it contains 720 eggs, 346 pounds of sugar, 26 pounds of gingerbread spice, 800 pounds of gumdrops, and 400 pounds of icing.


4. Christmas Island
Why build a gingerbread house when you can build a whole village --or in this case a whole island. This design, which was an entrant in the 2009 Grove Park Inn National Gingerbread Competition, is painstakingly detailed ― from the inside of each of the homes to the inhabitants of the island.


3. The Biltmore
Another entrant in the National Gingerbread Competition, this gingerbread mansion is a reproduction of Asheville, North Carolina's Biltmore House. We still prefer to think of it as Hogwarts in miniature.


2. Gingerbread Castle
Arizona may not have snow, but it does, apparently, have lots of gingerbread. This castle, created by the pastry team at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, took 400 hours to make and used 500 pounds of gingerbread dough.


1. The Disney Version
What is it with hotels and gingerbread houses? This life-size gingerbread house at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort is so big that it has an actual bake shop operating inside. The whole thing took 400 hours to bake and 160 hours to decorate ― presumably, by a very large team of Disney elves.