Remember last year when we built the epic gingerbread house?
Well we did it again (and by we I mean my brother-in-law Ryan and me). Except this year it was Heceta Head Lighthouse.
We used all the same recipes we did last year (for the royal icing and gingerbread itself). Two new recipes we incorporated however were fondant and rice crispy treats. Ryan found a special recipe that was for structural rice crispy treats so we used that. They set up nice and hard so we could used them as a foundation. We used the treats for the rocks and for the inside of the base of the lighthouse.
We then covered the rocks with homemade fondant (easier than you think). It game them a nice hillside/rock look.
Other cool features- I made the lens for the lighthouse by melting and pouring sugar. We learned that adding some water to the sugar before you melt it helps it not burn (2 sugar to 1 water ratio). Also butter butter butter everything the sugar will touch. The parchment, the spatula, the mold, your hands, etc. It makes it so much easier. Oh and work quickly.
The water was a big hurdle and we discussed so many different ideas before finally attempting one. Should we pour the sugar like we did last year on our tiny lake? That seemed daunting. What about fondant? Not the right texture. Ok then what if we use royal icing and then paint it? Great. We tried a tiny test patch of royal icing on parchment, let it dry, then painted it. It looked ok so we started to ice the whole board. And even that idea only got about 2% executed before we scrapped it because then Ryan suggested dying all the icing then we could just paint darker accents. Ok.
The second I added the coloring to the icing and started to stir I stopped. It looked beautiful. So I took the half mixed frosting and, being careful to not fully mix it, used it to make the water. Beyond pleased. It is one of my favorite features. Oh and the surfer is pretty cool too.
Of course there was the required gingerbread couple welcoming us to the lighthouse.
And required shenanigans… this time it was a gingerbread man buried in some sand (we used rice crispy treats and sugar for the sand). Also a tiny sand castle.
The lighthouse did indeed light up even. Absurdly proud of how that turned out.
Gingerbread trees are easy. Simply offset stack different sized cookies then dust with powdered sugar. Notice the little fish present for the seal? Yeah we are cutsey like that.
See how excited the seal is for his present? He was made out of moulded marzipan. And yes, in case you are wondering that is our interpretation of Ariel the mermaid. Fairly accurate if you ask me.
Squirrels. Looking for nuts.
(Sorry for the plethora of seal pictures. He was just my favorite…)
One year ago today: Tamales
Fondant (makes one approximately 5 inch diameter ball)
From Bake at 350
16 oz. bag mini marshmallows
3 TBSP water
2 lbs. powdered sugar
Pour in the marshmallows and water in a bowl. Microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted. Reserve about 1/4 c. powdered sugar. Place the rest of the powdered sugar in the large bowl of a standing mixer. Grease the paddle attachment with coconut oil. Pour the melted marshmallows onto the powdered sugar. Beat until a dough forms. There will be lots of loose bits and sugar in the bottom of the bowl. Grease a clean work surface with coconut oil and dump out the fondant and all loose bits. Grease hands liberally with coconut oil and knead the mixture together, just like kneading bread, for about 5 minutes until smooth.
Grease hands again as needed. As the fondant becomes smoother, use the reserved powdered sugar to coat the surface to keep it from sticking. Once smooth, you can divide and color the fondant. While working with one piece, cover the remaining fondant with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. When you have your colors finished, or just keep it all white, coat the fondant in a light layer of coconut oil. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in a large baggie. Stores at room temperature for several months.
And last but certainly not least the tiny house.
Oh and we won. We received an honorable mention for most adorable and won people’s choice award. Second year in a row we have won people’s choice. We are a bit proud.