The Gingerbread Nutcracker, Sweet

Cake Power and Baked Ideas present...The Gingerbread Nutcracker, our collaboration for this year's Gingerbread house display at The New York Botanical Garden .
We love "Gingerbread Adventures"
where kids are invited smell, touch, and taste the spices and other plant parts that make up a gingerbread recipe. They can also grind spices, make spicy sachets and ornaments, and decorate gingersnap cookies.

"Every Year five of New York's most celebrated and imaginative bakers design gingerbread houses for The New York Botanical Garden's Gingerbread Adventures exhibit in the Everett Children's Adventure Garden, on display from November 20, 2010, to Jan 9, 2011." NYBG

We are honored to be in the company of these wonderful bakers who have houses (that we can't wait to see!) :
Mark Tasker, Balthazar Bakery
Lauri DiTunno, Cake Alchemy,
Kaye Hansen, Riviera Bakehouse,
Irina Brandler, Sugar and Spice Bake Shop
(us: Kate Sullivan, Cake Power along with Patti Paige, Baked Ideas)

*For more about what kids get to explore at the exhibit see:
New York Times 2009 article 'GINGERBREAD ADVENTURES'

The Gingerbread house displays for the NY Botanical Garden stay up for months in all sorts of extremes of temperature and in direct sunlight. This always presents a special challenge in creating structures that can withstand the weather and condensation.
For our display, Nutcracker Gingerbread "Sweet", we made a cookie dough used mainly for houses and ornaments, because it bakes up so hard and solid. That recipe is from Colette's Christmas book.
❥ Since most gingerbread is made to be EATEN as well as seen, I thought I'd share the best most yummy & delicious Gingerbread recipe I know of, that works great for cookies, houses, and for eating!!

Patti Paige's Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
1/2 cup light brown sugar -- firmly packed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
10 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
3/4 cup dark molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Cream together butter and sugar. Add spices, salt, egg, and molasses, and beat well. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder; add to butter mixture and beat again. Chill dough for several hours. Heat oven 350 degrees. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool.

Royal Icing: 2 large egg whites (or equivalent powdered egg whites); 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar; juice of 1 lemon.
Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Add sugar, lemon juice and beat for 1 minute more. If icing is too thick, add a little water. If too thin, add more sugar. Spread on cookies or decorate with pastry bag and tip.

Hours for The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden:
Outdoor Galleries and Gingerbread Houses are open for exploration during regular garden hours- Tuesday-Sunday, 10am - 6pm.
Guided Gingerbread Activities take place:
Tuesdays - Fridays; 1:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays (except for November 20 & 21, 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.) and extended hours days; 10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

*The New York Botanical Garden, spanning some 250 acres of Bronx Park, was founded in 1891 on part of the grounds of the Belmont Estate, formerly owned by the tobacco magnate Pierre Lorillard, after a fund-raising campaign led by Columbia University botanist Nathaniel Lord Britton, who was inspired to emulate the Royal Botanic Gardens in London. It contains 48 different gardens and plant collections.


  1. LOVE this ! I'm going to go see it ...
    Fabulous seeing the process of developing the gingerbread house.
    Such an art, and you two are extraordinary artists!

  2. This is absolutely, amazingly creative! Would love to know how many hours and people power went into it's creation? This subject matter is a favorite of ours, as my daughter dances in the Westchester Ballet Company's Nutcracker at the Westchester County Center - just a few miles north of the Botanical Gardens. I did notice that your patterns for the characters were taken from a scherenschnitte pattern from the company "Papercutting by Alison" It would be nice to give them some credit. I think we are over due for a Christmas visit to the Botanical Gardens!

  3. This is gorgeous! Thank you for the behind-the- scenes glimpses. I posted a link to your post on my other site, :)

  4. Your beautiful gingerbread house has been featured on BEST OF THE WEB GINGERBREAD HOUSES go to the bottom of the post to get your badge.

  5. I just signed up for the Dec. 8th BUDDING MASTERS gingerbread workshop where my granddaughter can make her own gingerbread house. Where at the NYBG is the workshop given?

  6. My granddaughter and I are attending tomorrow Dec. 8th at 2pm the
    BUDDING Masters Gingerbread House Workshop at the NYBG. Where is it being held?
    Do the children take their creations home?

  7. Amazing and inspirational!


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