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Who says Gingerbread Houses have to be detached four bedroom, gable-roofed homes complete with parking space and picket fence? The joy of baking has spread far beyond the cosy, warm suburbs and this Christmas we marvel at the imaginative pieces of architecture that have sprung up worldwide. Mmm, sweet delicious architecture. Read more to see an assortment of gingerbread wonder and for some recipes of your own!

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A free-standing gingerbread apartment building!

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A glitzy pink gingerbread paradise for the girly girl.

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The winner of the gingerbread tournament in Stockholm, Sweden.

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My personal favorite, gingerbread Grumpy Cat.

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This lovely dad helped his daughter build the Empire State Building!

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In with the movie trends, a gingerbread Hobbit house.

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A spectacular gingerbread Sydney Opera House.

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Gingerbread zombie house, complete with little invaders.

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A gingerbread Weasly House from Harry Potter by Diane.

Ready to try your own?


The Gingerbread Mug Perch

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In today's economy, not everyone can spare the time or money for a big extravagant construction project. That doesn't mean you don't deserve a little gingery sweetness for your Christmas season. Try this miniature gingerbread to perch on the side of your mug, over at blog Not Martha.

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Or follow this recipe for a small and complete gingerbread house from the Cooking Channel.

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"Make a Template for Cutting the Houses: Because these are so little and have no roof, they require only two different pieces. The side piece is 2 by 2 inches and the front and back pieces of the house are 2 by 2 inches with a 1/2-inch-tall peak."

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"To make the gingerbread cookie dough: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and clove. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium-high speed.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each and scraping the sides of the bowl. Mix in the molasses on low speed until well blended. Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed just until it all comes together. Scrape down the bowl and turn the speed to medium; beat for 15 seconds. Wrap the gingerbread dough in plastic and refrigerate until set up, at least an hour."

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"Prepare the dough to make the cookie house pieces: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Roll out the chilled dough onto a well-floured surface to 1/8-inch thick. Using your templates, cut out two sides and two front-and-back pieces for each house."

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"Transfer to cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes then rotate the cookie sheets in the oven front to back and top to bottom. Bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Be very careful not to over bake, since the cookies are already so dark it can be hard to tell when they are done. The tops will be slightly dull when they are done. Allow the cookies to cool completely before assembling and decorating."

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"To Make the Ganache: Over a double boiler gently whisk the chocolate, cream, butter and rum until smooth. Once the ganache is set, fill a small parchment pastry bag with a small amount of ganache and cut a tiny hole on the tip."

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"Line a baking sheet with parchment and use the ganache as glue to hold the house in place as you build it. Start by putting four small dots of ganache 2 by 2 inches apart, which will become the corners of your house. Squeeze a line of ganache along one edge of the side pieces of the house (the square pieces)."

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"Join that side with one of the front- or back-of-the-house pieces (with the triangular roof) and stand them up on the dots you put down. Pipe a line of ganache along the outside edge of that seam. Pipe ganache on another side piece and attach it to the front- or back-of-house piece, parallel to the other side piece."

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"Attach the final front- or back-of-house piece and you have a start to your village. Once they are all assembled, place them in the refrigerator to set the ganache."

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"Make the White Icing: In a bowl mix together the confectioners' sugar, milk, corn syrup and almond extract until smooth. It should be thin enough to pipe from a parchment piping bag but not so thin that it spreads and doesn't hold its design. If it is too thick, add more milk. If it is too thin, add more confectioners' sugar."

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"Use the pastry bag to decorate your houses with a simple or ornate pattern. Let the icing set between each side by sticking them in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes." And there you have it!

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Via Pinterest and Reddit. Recipes courtesy of Not Martha and Cooking Channel.

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