My 2019 National Gingerbread House Entry for The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.
“Have a Dino-mite Christmas”, with Santasaurus Rex bringing his gingerbread house to the competition with his buddy Triceratops Reindeer. Right out of the gate you need to know that my family loves Jeeps, so naturally I wanted to create a piece that included a Jeep in some shape or form. (see our fleet below) My mom and niece also own Jeeps, so the love runs deep.
“The Beast” CJ7 1980- “Lil Gray” 2-Door and “The Boss” 4-Door
Building the Gingerbread Jeep
First I started by making a pattern with paper and cutting out baked construction gingerbread on my WEN scroll saw. In the moment of creating, I did not have the forethought to take many process photos. I just started by cutting and making what I thought were parts to create a Jeep. Attaching some of the structure with Tylose Glue and/or melted candy chocolates.
The front gingerbread is made with molasses vs. the top gingerbread being made with corn syrup, thus giving each a different color after baking. For the sides I made gingerbread pastillage, it is much easier to shape and to have curved pieces. The top being constructed I then put on the base to line up where the wheels would be installed.
Base of the Gingerbread Jeep
12″ Cinnamon Sticks make great rebar in construction of gingerbread creations. Baking the cinnamon sticks inside of ginger clay made a super strong base to to hold the wheels and top of the Jeep.
This base is not pretty but is super strong and sturdy, but covered with black fondant makes a nice under belly of the Jeep. The four wheels will look like real rubber tires using black fondant too. Again using cinnamon sticks as axles to secure them. (the wheels will need to be another post for sure because they were fun to make) I used a Dremel and drill for holes to insert the cinnamon sticks for support.)
The “naked” gingerbread Jeep is ready for detail work. The tuna can held up the base while drying because I did not want it to collapse. The jeep was able to stand up on all four wheels on its own just fine once completely dry.
Interior of the Gingerbread Jeep
Now for some fun making the interior of the Jeep. The two seats in red fondant have stitching to help aid in the illusion of real leather seats. A Wilton tool made this very easy to do. Using multiple cut pieces of gingerbread to build the console helps in the construction. The console then can be covered in modeling chocolate so fine details can be sculpted and seen better. Adding CMC Powder to modeling chocolate and/or fondant aids in the sturdiness of the overall structure.
“Installed” console and seats with tylose glue. I painted the console black using Sweetsticks Edible Paint and some black fondant accents. The steering wheel made of gingerbread pastiallage received some black edible paint to match the console.
Back Side of Gingerbread Jeep
The Jeep was up on 4 wheels and completely sturdy. My last minute decision to paint the “naked” gingerbread all hunter green made a huge difference because the brown was so boring. This is a cool Jeep that needs to stand out amongst the overall piece because the dinosaurs were super fun themselves. The brown Jeep blended too much with the cobblestone driveway and Santasaurus Rex’s skin. The hunter green gave it a pop of color that it needed. (SweetSticks Edible Paint)
Lastly a “Gingerfriend” gave me the best compliment that year. She told me that my piece reminded her of a Jeep she had once owned herself years ago. Her Jeep had been a 1979 CJ-7! I used our own 1980 CJ-7 as my inspiration so I felt I had done my job of creating a fun gingerbread Jeep piece for the holidays that would resonate with people like her.