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Video:Top Gingerbread House Styles and Themes

with Chef Griggs

Gingerbread houses have surpassed creative expectations in recent years and now come in all sorts of styles and themes. Get some insight into the top gingerbread house styles and themes in this culinary arts video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Top Gingerbread House Styles and Themes

Hi. I'm Cameron with About.com, and today I'll show you 5 of the top gingerbread houses and themes.

The Classic Gingerbread House Cottage Style

Gingerbread houses first became popular in Germany after the release of the Brothers Grimm children's tale, Hansel and Gretel. Today there are many styles and occasions for gingerbread houses.

Probably the most frequently attempted gingerbread houses are the basic single story gingerbread house. These are usually done in the cottage style, adorned with icing snow and and decorated with various candies. The basic gingerbread house is simple and quick to make, and can be successfully accomplished by most families, including those without an artistic bend.

The basic gingerbread house is also a fun family activity which can include among the youngest of family members. In fact, the basic gingerbread house is available as a kit from many retailers during the Christmas season. The main downside of the basic gingerbread house is that it may be less impressive than its more complex and time-consuming counter-parts.

Complex Gingerbread House Designs

Complex, multi-story gingerbread houses are also popular in America today. Making a gingerbread house is often a family tradition, and for some families it becomes an art form. Some families even choose to participate in gingerbread house competitions, and will even work for several weeks to plan and create the most impressive display.

Styles for the complex gingerbread include Victorian houses, mansions, elaborate cottages, and some even attempt the White House. The more complex gingerbread houses often include see through windows, detailed landscape designs, frosting paint to cover the gingerbread, and some houses are even lit from within with a tea-light candle.

Gingerbread House Themes

Holiday themes are the most popular gingerbread themes. Christmas is the most recognized holiday associated with gingerbread houses. However gingerbread houses are also made for most other holidays including Valentine's Day, Hanuka, Easter, Halloween and even baby showers.

Decorating a Gingerbread House

One popular style for gingerbread houses is to decorate the gingerbread with a rainbow of colored candies. This style is great for basic gingerbread houses, because they can take a simple construction and make it beautiful. Popular candies to use for the rainbow style are gumdrops, M&M's, peppermints, candy canes, colored icings, pretzels, and lickerish. Some people will go for more muted, life-like colors for their gingerbread house. This style works best for the more complex styles of gingerbread houses, because the display is already impressive without the added color. The realistic dimension added to the house through the use of muted colors can often bring a beautiful life-like quality to the house. Common ingredients for muted decorations include white icing, cereals, powdered sugar, and gelatin sheets or melted butterscotch candies for the windows!

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