An Edible Landscape: “The Forest Gnome’s Railway”

Remember that gingerbread recipe from last week?

This is what Mini-Kraut and I made with it this last weekend (Hermann the German did also lend a helping hand during the construction phase):

Star Tree with copyrightTrain with copyrightTrain station with copyright

Houses with copyright

“Die Waldwichtelbahn” or “The Forest Gnome’s Railway”

We have developed a family tradition in recent years of building a gingerbread (or “Lebkuchen” as it is called here in Germany) house/cottage/village on the third weekend in Advent. This year’s version is a little village in the corner of the forest, home to our Christmas gnome, a corner serviced by two railway lines (Mini-Kraut insists that there is always a railway… 🙂 ). It stays standing until Christmas Day (rules are rules – no touching and no nibbling!) when it is then free to be plundered…

Making a gingerbread house is easier than it perhaps looks, you just have to be prepared to do it in stages.

Ours is made over the course of the weekend. We make the dough on Friday afternoon so that it can “infuse” overnight.

Double the quantity of the BEST Gingerbread recipe will make enough for a display on your average size wooden chopping board (as below).

Village with copyright

Saturday morning is “shape and bake” (make sure you roll the dough out more thinly for the roofs and more thickly for the walls…).

P1150113 (2) P1150114 (3)

Once the baked building components have all cooled…

15_12_2012 Building components with copyright

Saturday afternoon is “decorate”: for the “cement” you need 100 g icing sugar to 1 egg white – make double that (i.e. 200 g icing sugar to 2 egg whites) for this quantity of dough – it dries within a couple of hours and sets really hard.

All of the building components are decorated while flat and the sugar decoration is then given time to dry completely before construction work commences.

15_12_2012 Decorated building components with copyright

Saturday evening then sees the start of the construction work: walls first (the walls are left to dry overnight) – and make sure you have a selection of props to hand – my suggestions as per the pic below:

Props with copyright

Sunday morning sees the roofs being cemented in place, and then step by step, with time for drying in between, the rest of the features are put or “cemented” in place.

By Sunday evening everything is in its place (but keep the remains of your egg white cement in the fridge overnight until the next day in case of breakages and/or oversights)…

… and then let it snow (= dust with icing sugar) over your landscape on Sunday evening 🙂

Snow with copyright

(In our version, everything is edible apart from the gnome, his two snowmen and the “Forest Gnome’s Railway” sign…)

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7 thoughts on “An Edible Landscape: “The Forest Gnome’s Railway”

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  1. Wow, this is amazing. Wonderful and what a lovely tradition.
    I remember the gingerbread houses of my childhood but I haven’t managed to make one yet for my boys despite best intentions. You’ve inspired me. Thank you for these hints and the recipe.

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  2. Thank you Astrid … and do let yourself be inspired – it really is doable and, I think, really worth the effort – after all, the children only have one childhood so the time is now 🙂 Have fun 🙂

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  3. Thank you again for the motivation. We made our gingerbread house! 🙂 It wasn’t as time consuming as I thought. It really helps to break the tasks down and not to rush it.

    Liked by 1 person

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