I finally have some pictures to post of our 2009 Gingerbread Creation. Jason and his friend, Nathan, decided they wanted to try a castle this year, after looking at some pictures online. So I used my mad math and engineering skills (cough cough) to draw up a pattern, which I then cut out of copy paper. We needed a quadruple batch of our favorite gingerbread dough for all 30 pieces required. One trick is roll out a baseball size piece of chilled dough on a piece of aluminum foil. Then lay the paper pattern piece on the dough and cut out with a pizza cutter or small sharp knife. Remove the excess dough and transfer the whole sheet of foil directly to a cookie sheet and bake. When the pieces are baked, let them cool slightly before transferring to cooling rack - you don't want the warm gingerbread to bend or crack.
We let the baked pieces cool and harden overnight, then started construction with pastry bags of chocolate royal icing " cement". Canned goods from the pantry helped provide support as the icing set.
Our base was an 18 x 18 inch piece of plywood, covered with foil and white decorator icing.
Another friend, Tyler, helped out with the assembly too. Once assembled, we let the castle sit for 2 days to harden. Then the boys spent an afternoon decorating, with chocolate decorator frosting, ice cream cones, caramels, Skittles, Cheerios, and malted milk balls. (My camera had been kidnapped by a certain daughter that afternoon, so I don't have pictures of the actual decorating process.)
TA DA! now on to the Lighthouse Gingerbread House Contest!