Look! Life-Sized Gingerbread Houses

Have you ever attempted to make a gingerbread house? My family always holds a gingerbread house decorating competition around the holidays, but these oversized gingerbread creations put our icing-spackled sheds to shame. These are gingerbread houses so big you can actually walk inside — or, in some of them, hoist the sails!

All of these gingerbread houses, castles, and ships were created for Ritz-Carlton hotels as centerpieces of whimsy and holiday fancy. They are also an opportunity for their pastry chefs to really show off their creativity and architectural skills! Here's a look at what went into just one of these creations:

• 350 pounds of organic white, brown and confectioner's sugar
• 70 pounds of organic egg whites
• 300 pounds of organic bread flour
• 100 organic eggs
• 24 pounds of molasses
• Four pounds of salt
• Four pounds of baking soda
• 120 pounds of shortening
• 24 ounces of cinnamon
• Two gallons of organic milk
• Eight ounces each of nutmeg, allspice and cloves
• Nine ounces of ginger

Some grinch-type characters might call such a lavish display wasteful, but we think otherwise. There's something magical about stepping into a room with a ship made of gingerbread. It's like Willy Wonka's edible chocolate factory, brought to life in a small way, and that wonder and pleasure is something so rarely encountered in daily life that we applaud it here.

Have you ever attempted a seriously ambitious gingerbread sculpture?

Related: How to Make a Peppermint Gingerbread House

(Images: Courtesy Ritz-Carlton; Doha Ritz-Carlton photo courtesy of Amara Photos)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.