Tis’ the Season for Gingerbread Houses

Last weekend, I was asked to compete in a Live Gingerbread House Decorating Contest hosted by the flagship Bloomingdale’s store in New York City.

Even though I only got a few days notice, I didn’t panic. We were allowed to bring only royal icing and an open mind — so how much prep could I really do anyway? They supplied us with all of the materials, including the candy from their amazing holiday selection of sweets.

I realized all too late that it had been years since I’ve actually built a real gingerbread house. Not just decorated. BUILT. Oh well, too late now.

As I started setting up in the Bloomies Culinary Kitchen on 6, my French competitor arrived but he wasn’t alone. He had an assistant.

I was instantly the underdog.

(It’s intimidating enough that Pierre works here)

We were then given sheets of thick homemade gingerbread, which I rarely see. It wasn’t the thin hard variety that is wildely used, but rather a moist thick heavy bread. Delish!

But would it stand on its own??

(I only have this small blurry post-competition photo of the gingerbread. Sorry!)

Turns out…building gingerbread houses is like riding a bike.

A delicious spicy bike.

I got my house to stand up first – so one point for me!

But Pierre is French. So two points for him.

(One for the accent and one for his lady assistant.)

We had an hour and a half to build and decorate our houses from top to bottom.

It was getting so hot in the kitchen with the lights and all the crazy shoppers standing right next to us (seriously, boundaries anyone?) so the royal icing was starting to melt which was challenging.

But, alas, I finished.

Mine was totally sloppy and not up to The Hudson Cakery standards.

I didn’t even complete the sides of the house!

But at least I used a lot of Bloomies candy within that *dramatic hour of competition.

Oh wait! I added icicles to the roof right before our time was up.

Cashews for the windows, gum drops for the trees and bushes, jellybeans for the front cobbled path, powdered sugar for snow and some red licorice for the “string of lights” on the roof.

I wish I had more pictures of the roof since it was detailed with royal icing lights and fun scalloped patterns. Sad Face.

Here are the houses side by side.

They were actually similar in style but his house was much cleaner-looking than mine.

(I’m totally bringing a heard of interns next time)

Here are the judges carefully…..judging.

I won points for stability, use of product and creativity.

They won points for size, design and creativity.

So it was declared…..a tie!

Which I’ll gladly take. It was so much fun and I got to talk to a lot of friendly holiday shoppers, employees and friends.

And thanks to my man for being the official Hudson Cakery photographer that day.

But I’ll be back next year Bloomies…to go for a Gingerbread win!

(Cue evil laugh)

*Dramatic = Actually quite friendly and overall stress-free. You were a great competitor Pierre!

Happy Holidays!!!

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4 Responses to Tis’ the Season for Gingerbread Houses

  1. Anonymous December 8, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    Wow! Jersey girls really rock…and they come ALONE! Mr. Frenchman..be afraid…be very afraid!

  2. Jess December 7, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    I love it! You did an awesome job!


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