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.
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.
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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Amazing – so detailed!!
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 😉
I love! It's wonderful! You are a great artist. Congratulations! Kisses from Spain 🙂
Seriously gorgeous, and beautifully detailed and executed and… I love it! How lovely would it be to live in such a sweet place!
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!
Can I move in? Love it 🙂
OMG, that's so adorable!
That detail is insanely perfect.
Wow. It's so lovely it's nearly "The Cottage of Lost Play." 😉
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!
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.
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.
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…
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!
:O this is amazing!! My drama teacher would absoultely L.O.V.E it, she is Hobbit mad, I shall have to show her 🙂
Oh, how pretty! I wish I were as talented and patient as you.
You are fantastic.
This comment has been removed by the author.
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 🙂
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.
This is amazing, I am a huge Tolkien fan!! (I avtually got "Letters from Father Christmas" for my birthday yesterday 🙂
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! 😀
The boot prints made me giggle.
WOW, that is just so pretty and cool. Great job, I love love love the real windows, just takes it beyond amazing!!!
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!
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!
I feel like all of my comments to you are the same – but this is just too adorable!! You are so creative!
Wow! You are so creative and talented. This must have took a while to do.
Can this be eaten?
Fantastic work! You must have infinite patience!
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!
You seriously blow my mind!!! Amazing!!
This is so cool!!! The best Gingerbread house I have seen this year.
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!!
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.
I can only imagine the work and patience that went into this post, fantastic results!!
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.
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
wow- a real work of art!
This is outrageous! Amazing work!
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"
This is pure amazement!
I want to live there!
This is uhhhhhhhmazing! My husband would die of love for me if I made this.
Too pretty to eat!
I just talked myself into it. 😀
Just amazing! I love it. Thank you for creating such beautiful gingerbread house!