Decorating gingerbread houses with fondant is a quick way to add some color to your house, and because it’s made from sugar, it’s another edible element in your decorating toolbox.
What is fondant, and what are some ways that you can use it on your gingerbread house?
Rolled fondant can be used to model figures and objects, and it can also be rolled out to use as flat coverings for surfaces like a roof. It can also be used in silicone molds to create flowers, stone walkways, and other shapes that can then be attached to a gingerbread house as decorative elements.
There are a lot of different types of fondant and recipes to make it.
What you want to use it for will determine whether you should buy it or make it yourself.
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What kind of fondant to use for your gingerbread house.
When you’re buying fondant, or making it, you need to decide what you want the final effect to be. If you want the fondant to dry out and be hard for molded items, or to resist high-humidity environments, you should make sure that you buy a type that doesn’t have any candy clay in it. The basic brands that have sugar and some sort of gum as the main ingredients should dry harder than brands that include candy clay.
Candy clay is made from candy coating and corn syrup, and it’s basically like Tootsie rolls.
It will harden up to a certain extent, but you’ll always be able to soften it up again by heating it or kneading it.
Most commercially-available fondant doesn’t have candy clay in it, but the ingredients to look for to see if it does will be things like palm oil, high fructose corn syrup, and soy lecithin.
Fondarific is one brand that does have these ingredients, so it won’t ever get as hard as other brands.
Most other brands don’t have the candy clay in them, so they’ll dry out on their own, or faster if you add another gum to them like Tylose or Gumtex.
Satin Ice, Wilton, and other generic brands that only have things like sugar, food coloring and a gum in them will dry hard when left out at room temperature.
If you want to cover your house with fondant directly, you can use either type.
If you want to make molded items that will dry harder, you should use the type that doesn’t have candy clay.
How to stick fondant to a gingerbread house.
Fondant can be attached to a gingerbread house using piping gel or corn syrup. Both will create a sticky surface that will bond to the fondant and hold it in place. The gingerbread should be as clean and free from excess flour or crumbs as possible, and a thin layer of sugar glue can be applied to the gingerbread. The fondant should be rolled out to a thickness of no more than 1/4″ at the most, then laid on the gingerbread carefully to avoid fingerprints.
The fondant can be used in a full sheet that covers entire sections, or small pieces like doors.
You can also cut pieces out to make shingles, bricks, or siding.
Fondant will telegraph any bumps or flaws on the surface that it covers, so try to make sure that the surface is as clean and flat as possible.
You can also use lace molds or other texture molds to create interesting textures and patterns that can be applied to the gingerbread to add decorative elements to the walls and roof.
For an article about fondant vs. gumpaste for your gingerbread house, click here.
How to use fondant to mold items for your gingerbread house.
Fondant can be used in silicone molds or shaped by hand to create small decorative items, or to make items to use in the landscaping or interior designs of gingerbread houses. To make the fondant harden faster, you can also add some additional gum to it. This is how cake decorators make a quick gumpaste, and it makes the fondant dry hard so that it can be shaped into flowers and other hard sugar decorations.
I used to make my own fondant and gumpaste, and the recipes are very similar, they just have different proportions of ingredients.
Fondant has some softeners that gumpaste doesn’t, but when you add the additional gum to fondant it makes it harden like gumpaste.
Using fondant with a little extra tylose or gumtex in it will make it harden quickly, and you’ll be able to make little details to add to your gingerbread house that are still edible, but can also be more realistic than things made out of candy.
To make a quick gumpaste, add 1-2 tsp of Tylose to 1 pound of fondant. Knead the tylose into the fondant well, then store it wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and a plastic baggie in the freezer to keep it from hardening. Use it to mold shaped items, then let them dry at room temperature.
Silicone molds are another useful tool when you’re making fondant details because they speed up the process.
You can definitely model everything by hand, but molds help to make the work go faster.
I have a lot of silicone molds listed on my website, and some are designed specifically to make miniature items. You can check them out here: Silicone fondant molds
This mold set can be used to make a door and stone pathway for a cake or a gingerbread house.
These types of texture molds can be used to create cute fondant details on a gingerbread house quickly and precisely.
Another option for a roll-able decoration, or one that you can mold things from, is candy clay.
Click here for an article about candy clay vs fondant, and how to decide which one might work better for your gingerbread house.
Fondant can be used in a lot of ways to decorate gingerbread houses and to model things that can be used on them.
It’s an excellent edible material that can stand up to a lot of different temperatures and humidity levels, so try it out if you haven’t used it before!
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