Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gingerbread Hobbit Hole



It's no secret that I've been counting down the days until the arrival of The Hobbit movie. And all the while there's been much constructing going on in my dining room.  I've been working on my own little piece of The Shire in gingerbread form.

The inspiration for this particular hobbit hole comes from Bag End, but it's by no means an exact replica. It's just a place where I imagine a hobbit could be very comfortable.


"In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a Hobbit-hole, and that means comfort." - The Hobbit, Chapter 1


I started out with a homemade "blueprint" sketched on a piece of parchment. In hindsight I would have rounded the top edges and maybe not made it so large (the finished house is three feet long!). 1-inch, 2-inch and 3-inch round fondant cutters were used to cut out the door and windows.


The gingerbread facade is covered with orange flavored royal icing that is tinted very pale yellow. The bricks are made from sculpting chocolate and attached with piping gel.


Pulverized pistachios make a nice mossy covering around the doors and windows. Pieces of pistachio-covered sculpting chocolate created dimension around the door, then the whole thing was dusted with confectioners' sugar. 


The windows were made of orange-clove flavored hard candy. An impression can be made in the melted candy with the metal cutters while it's still warm, and the circles easily break away easily from the candy sheet when it hardens.  I experimented with decorating them with royal icing.  In the end I preferred painting on the window panes with black gel food coloring and an artists' brush.

Candy windows illuminated.
  The bushes are made of caramel candies covered in green fondant. I pocked the fondant's surface with a star decorator tip to give it texture.

Someone has been shoveling the walkway!
The front door is made from one large piece of green fondant striated with a toothpick. A metallic dragee represents a doorknob.


I found myself asking questions like "What does winter in The Shire look like?".  I'd say there would be at least one snowman (snow-hobbit?) dressed in one of Bilbo's old vests.


A hobbit would most likely prepare to be cozy and warm in the winter months. 
This stack of firewood is made of sculpting chocolate.


The grassy covering on the top and sides of the structure is sweetened shredded coconut tinted with golden yellow and moss green food coloring.  The sweetened coconut really sticks together well and it's easy to apply. It is generously dusted with confectioners sugar.


I first intended this to be a rain barrel, but considering a hobbit's nature it's probably a barrel of ale set out to chill in the snow.  It is actually a marshmallow wrapped in sculpting chocolate.  The details are black fondant.


Hobbits like to plant things and farm.  Here's a little gardening wagon that's all covered in snow. It is made of graham crackers and sculpting chocolate.


I hope you've enjoyed seeing my Bag End inspired hobbit home.  Although this isn't a complete tutorial, I'm including the gingerbread recipe I use for structures as well as a royal icing recipe. I purchased the sculpting chocolate from a specialty store, but I've also included my recipe for modeling chocolate which I believe would work very well for gingerbread applications.

The Hobbit movie was so visually stunning and heart-warming. Everything I'd hoped for.  I can't wait to see it a second time!



Gingerbread House Dough  
2-3 dozen cookies, or one gingerbread house and accouterments
                                                                                                                                                   [click for printable version]
3½          cups all-purpose flour
2              teaspoons ground ginger
1½          teaspoons ground cinnamon
1              teaspoon baking soda
½             teaspoon salt
1              cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾             cup (packed) dark brown sugar
½             cup molasses - not black strap, and preferably "golden", "mild"  or "sorghum" molasses
1              large egg
½             teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in another large bowl at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add brown sugar; beat 1 minute. Add molasses; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend.
  2. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Form each half into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic; chill until firm, at least 4 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
  3. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper to  ¼-inch thickness. Use gingerbread house templates or decorative cookie cutters to cut-out shapes and transfer to prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Gather scraps, roll out dough, and cut more shapes/cookies, repeating until all dough is used.  Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are firm on top and slightly darker around edges, about 8 minutes for smaller shapes and up to 15 minutes for larger shapes.
  4. Cool completely on rack. Line baking sheets with fresh parchment as needed. 
Note: Cookies will not spread much during baking, but for precise gingerbread house construction, cookies can be perfectly re-cut while still hot.  Place the paper templates on top of the hot cookies, and quickly cut with a plain-edge knife - but be careful not to burn yourself!  

Royal Icing
Yield: 2 1/2 -3 cups                                                                                                        [click for printable version]

3-4 Tbsp meringue powder
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp lemon extract

1. Whisk together meringue powder and powdered sugar.  Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.  
2. Add warm water and mix on high speed for about 5-7 minutes or until stiff peaks are achieved.  Transfer to a piping bag and use to adhere gingerbread house pieces.

Notes:  Not all meringue powder is created equal.  Be sure to check the recipe on the container before you begin.   I usually use 3 Tbsp. meringue powder, but if you don't have a powerful stand mixer in which to whip the icing, you may use an additional tablespoon.  It will come together more quickly.

Chocolate Modeling Clay                                                                [click for printable recipe]
1- 10 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup light corn syrup
  1. Heat chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring thoroughly between each heating.  When chips are completely melted add corn syrup and stir until mixture becomes thick; the chocolate will lose it's shiny appearance.
  2. Spread mixture on a large piece of wax paper with a spatula and top with another piece of wax paper. Gently even out with a rolling pin or by pressing to 1/2" thickness.  Let dry 2-3 hours.  Knead until pliable and putty-like before use.   Chocolate sculptures will harden when left out to dry.  Place unused clay in an air-tight container.  Discard after 3 months.

68 comments:

Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen said...

OM.EM.GEE, this is totally insane!. This is the kind of thing I would make in my dreams. I'm so in love with this.

Karla McGarvey said...

Amazing - so detailed!!

http://hello-karla.blogspot.ie
xx

Heather (Heather's Dish) said...

I LOVE THIS! I've been counting down the days til The Hobbit too...my hubby isn't really a big fan of it, but I'm not above going by myself to the theater and getting lost in the story ;)

Blog App├ętit! said...

I love! It's wonderful! You are a great artist. Congratulations! Kisses from Spain :)

Pink Patisserie said...

Seriously gorgeous, and beautifully detailed and executed and... I love it! How lovely would it be to live in such a sweet place!

Sue said...

You're killing me here, Heather! I'm still reeling over the gnome home, and then you pop up with this incredible hobbit home!!! I adore it!

Heather Ozee said...

Can I move in? Love it :)

Lena said...

OMG, that's so adorable!

vanillasugarblog said...

Heather!
That detail is insanely perfect.
Wow.

Heather said...

Wow. It's so lovely it's nearly "The Cottage of Lost Play." ;-)

Sharla said...

Wow - you are so talented!! I would never have the patience for this sort of thing.

I did not like The Hobbit as well as Lord of the Rings so far, but I think it was just a little slow getting started. Can't wait to see the rest!

Isabel said...

This is pretty epic! Just saw the Hobbit yesterday for the first time and can't wait to see it again. Love what you've done, your attention to details is incredible.

Darla | Bakingdom said...

Unless I'm successful at developing shrink ray technology very soon, I'll need you to make a life sized one, so that I can live in it. But I'll also need you on hand to repair and rebuild the sections that I can't resist eating, so that means you'll just have to move in. I hope that's acceptable.

tisha said...

Dios santo, que super elaborado y hermoso esta, eres una gran artista,,, insisto no podria desbaratarlo a pedazos para comerlo,,, seria una lastima...
Ansiosa por tu ver tu siguiente obra...

Becca said...

This is an absolutely gorgeous Hobbit hole. I wish I had 1/10th of your skill.

I cant wait to see the Hobbit movie! I'm re-reading the book to refresh my memory. So far I'm about 100 pages away from finishing it :) I forgot how much I liked that book!

just a norwich girl said...

:O this is amazing!! My drama teacher would absoultely L.O.V.E it, she is Hobbit mad, I shall have to show her :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh, how pretty! I wish I were as talented and patient as you.

Cheers,

Rosa

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

You are fantastic.

Shirley@bells-bakery said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shirley@bells-bakery said...

I am actually gobsmacked by this,it is fantastic! It might sound mad but I would love to live in the shire,so pretty there :)

Shannon Phillips said...

This is so beautiful! My husband and I are watching the LOTR movies in preparation for seeing the Hobbit on Friday! I just love the scenes of the shire in the Fellowship.

Miss Overballe said...

This is amazing, I am a huge Tolkien fan!! (I avtually got "Letters from Father Christmas" for my birthday yesterday :)

Lydia Bakes said...

WOW! I am a HUGE Hobbit/LOTR fan, I live in NZ, met most of the actors back in LOTR days and am so completely excited about the Hobbit. I'm also a cake decorator in my spare time so this Gingerbread house is just exactly what I love! You have done such a wonderful job! I love all the little details outside! Hope you enjoy seeing the movie again...and again! I know I will! :-D

Carrie said...

The boot prints made me giggle.

Dani said...

WOW, that is just so pretty and cool. Great job, I love love love the real windows, just takes it beyond amazing!!!

Mollie @ EatRunRead said...

I love this soooooo much! I definitely don't have the attention to detail to make something this perfect -- I'm so happy to see yours!

Maria said...

Impresionante!!

Kate said...

Just amazing!

Felicia-May Stevenson said...

Great job! Love the attention to detail! I always enjoy watching sugar/cake making competitions on TV, would love to try my hand at it. Tweeted this!

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts said...

I feel like all of my comments to you are the same - but this is just too adorable!! You are so creative!

Nicole @ HealthyandDelish said...

Wow! You are so creative and talented. This must have took a while to do.

Anonymous said...

Can this be eaten?

Nicola @ Naranjalimon said...

Fantastic work! You must have infinite patience!

Cassandra Eb said...

I've been lurking around this bog for awhile...can I just say this is AMAZING. I know I sure would not have the patience to complete or even attempt a project like this. Awesome!

The Bearfoot Baker said...

You seriously blow my mind!!! Amazing!!

Cecily Fortun said...

This is so cool!!! The best Gingerbread house I have seen this year.

emi said...

Simply amazing...

baker in disguise said...

oh my god.. this is insane.. and the best!! i couldnt get over every detail.. tolkein would have been proud!! i so have to show this to the guy who introduced me to the series... awesome!!

Suzanne Perazzini said...

I love your imagination and the way you work through what to use to create the effect you want. Who would dare to eat this? It would be so destructive.

Gerry @Foodness Gracious said...

I can only imagine the work and patience that went into this post, fantastic results!!

wallflourgirl said...

So. Um. Yes. When is this going to be available via delivery? Because this is absolutely fantastic! I'm sure all of The Shire would desperately approve, and probably even enjoy it for second breakfast.

belleau kitchen said...

me too.. me too... I CANNOT wait for the movie... only a few days now... or is it today infact!!!... I am also ASTOUNDED by your gingerbread hobbit house... it is quite literally breathtaking... xx

Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings said...

wow- a real work of art!

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

This is outrageous! Amazing work!

SweetLePetit said...

My husband is a huge Hobbit fan so I had to show him this email now he wants me to make one! His exact response was "I wants it! My precious"

Sarah said...

This is pure amazement!

CouldBeKim said...

I want to live there!

Kim

http://loopsoflavender.blogspot.com/

Chelsea @ Chelsea Is Dishing Up said...

This is uhhhhhhhmazing! My husband would die of love for me if I made this.

Colette Just for Foodies said...

Too pretty to eat!
Wait.
I just talked myself into it. :D

Monika @ What's on the Plate said...

Just amazing! I love it. Thank you for creating such beautiful gingerbread house!

Lynna said...

Heather, you are incredible. This looks amazing. I especially love looking at the little details you put into this.

Lisa Del Villardo said...

hahaha this is FANTASTIC
you're so talented !!

Michele said...

Loved the movie and can't believe how fantastic
your hobbit home is. You are so talented.

Manderley de GuindillayCanela said...

Ohhhh it's amazing! Spectacular. I love this idea.

Merry Christmas!

Coyolxa said...

Wooooooooow, this is really amazing!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this! Creating a gingerbread house is the only tradition I've been consistent with over time. My 10 yr old son was anxiously awaiting the movie and had decided that his gingerbread creation this year would be a Hobbit hole. With your great photos, descriptions and recipes we've got some much needed guidance.

Peggy G. said...

Oh my goodness. This has got to be the best gingerbread house I've seen this year! Absolutely gorgeous!

lokness said...

This is just stunning! So amazing... I am lost of words! If I can only make something like this one day... Anyways, Happy Holidays!

Heide M (TM) said...

How cute!

Angela King said...

this is the best damn gingerbread house i think i've ever seen! well done!

Anonymous said...

Cool! We just finished reading it in school

Erin said...

That's incredible!!

Molly CakesBakes said...

I LOVE IT! I just read The Hobbit for the first time this summer, can't wait to see the movie!

Margo said...

oh my WORD that is so cool! I would never have the patience to make that, but I so enjoy looking at yours. I adore all the little Hobbit holes so much - I've heard they show a lot of them at the beginning of the movie.

Stacy said...

Heather, Didn't want another day to go by without stopping by to share with you how impressed I am by your Gingerbread Hobbit Hole! It is truly magical and I want to open the round door and step inside. Pure genius to use crushed pistachios for the moss, too. Thank you for sharing and Happy New Year!

Blueberry said...

I'm speechless :D

Nikki From Tikkido said...

Aw, how did I miss this last year!?? I'm a huge fan of both gingerbread houses and The Hobbit. At least I found it now. Spectacularly done!

COCO intheKitchen said...

I want to live there!!

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