Miniature houses have an undeniable appeal, especially when they're made out of food. But the architectural achievements in this guide are so charming and sometimes so elaborate that it's hard to imagine actually eating them; they're meant to be admired, not devoured. From rustic to royal, humble to ornate, this eclectic assortment ranges from cooking-school complex to child-simple. Some were even designed by kids and could certainly be constructed by them. (Just be sure to buy extra trimmings, since the budding architects are bound to do some nibbling!)
The authors lay solid groundwork in the introductory section, explaining the key points of gingerbread building, pattern making, and utilizing various types of trimmings, and offer basic recipes for gingerbread dough, royal icing, marzipan, pastillage, and fondant. Then it's on to the structures themselves, contributed by more than four dozen designers. Houses, cabins, inns, chapels, castles, lighthouses, even whole little villages drip with snowy icing, as candies, cookies, and other goodies mimic stone, brick, shingle, stucco, logs, and landscaping. This is not a step-by-step guide but rather a gallery of wonderful ideas, with photos of each creation and some very general suggestions about making them. The photography is not high quality but is adequate enough to show detail, and templates are included for many of the structures. One designer even found an ingenious solution to the edibility dilemma, turning the flat roof of her elaborate Victorian concoction into a serving surface for Christmas cookies. --Amy Handy
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.