For the last five years, a gingerbread house the size of a large dollhouse has been erected as part of the vast holiday décor at French Lick Resort. A team of bakers and decorators begins creating the concept of the structure in early November and the actual house takes three weeks to complete. Taking a recipe for a regular batch of gingerbread, they extrapolate the measurements and make a much larger batch. The math is quite intense but necessary to make sure the consistency of the finished product can stand-alone.
|Gingerbread house in the French Lick Springs Hotel|
The baked gingerbread sheets are “glued” to a structure framed out with wood. Gallons of icing are used not only to make sure the gingerbread adheres to the wood, but also to make sure that the windows, candy and other decorations stay in place. The basic wooden form is also wired for electricity so tiny Christmas lights can be placed inside the house for an extra special touch.
Over the years their technique has changed a bit to make construction easier. Now, as they work on the house, it is resting on milk crates at counter height so they don’t have to do all the back-breaking bending over. Using Isomalt, a baking sugar, for the windows and flaked sugar called Sugar Dust, for snow, the house is further decorated with old-fashioned candies and pieces they get from the Hoosier Sugar Company. Once the gingerbread house is finished, it is put on a palette jack and moved into place. Though originally adorning the lobby of French Lick Springs Hotel in recent years, the structure has been on display in the Event Center between the Promenade Shoppes and the Casino where it will once again rest this year.
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