The houses that Bob Schuld of Pillager constructs, most people could just eat up.
Windows in his homes are made from Jolly Ranchers and trim work materials are either candy canes, gum drops, candy corn and decorative sprinkles. The structure of the homes is made from gingerbread cookies made from scratch and rock candy is used on the homes to give them the Up North look.
If you haven't figured it out yet, Schuld creates gingerbread houses for fun. It's a hobby. He makes small ones, medium ones and large ones. He uses most any candy that he can get his hands onto. It helps that he and his wife, Chrissy, own Chrissy's Ice Cream Parlor and Candy Store located at Madden's Resort, where Bob Schuld works as an executive chef.
One of the windows of a gingerbread house created by Bob Schuld of Pillager. Melted Jolly Ranchers were used for the window and other candies, including candy corn and gumdrops, were used as trim. Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Schuld made his biggest gingerbread house recently - 30-by-30 inches and 34 inches tall. He donated the house to Lowell Elementary School, where his daughter, Maddie, is a first-grader. The school auctioned off the house Monday for a fundraiser. Schuld also made 18 small gingerbread houses for his daughter's class to decorate.
Schuld began making gingerbread houses five years ago to help decorate holiday parties at Madden's. He then started making the houses for his daughter's school.
Every part of the gingerbread houses that Schuld makes is edible, except the board that the house sits on. The bushes and trees along side the homes are made from ice cream cones with frosting and the little candies on the trees serve as ornaments.
Bob Schuld donated this gingerbread house to Lowell Elementary School. Many different candies were used. The house took him 30 to 40 hours to create and there is about 40 pounds of sugar in the frosting alone. Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
The entire structure of the gingerbread homes is made from Schuld's basic gingerbread homemade recipe. He makes each piece of the home separately and adds food coloring to dough that he wants in a different color, most commonly red.
When a piece of the house comes out of the oven, Schuld lets it sit to harden and then decorates it. Homemade frosting of egg whites and powdered sugar is used to cement the candies to the home.
Schuld likes to use candy canes as window trim and gum drops and candy corn as trim for the walls and roof lines. Schuld melts Jolly Ranchers into the gingerbread windows for a stained-glass look. Necko wafers and tops of candy canes are used as shingles for the roof.
The side of the gingerbread house that Bob Schuld donated to Lowell Elementary School. Schuld added food coloring to the gingerbread to give the side more dimension and a cobblestone look. Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Schuld uses edible cake-top candies to add holiday decor to the houses. Reindeer, Christmas trees and gingerbread men candies were used on the house that was donated to Lowell.
The Lowell gingerbread house consists of three buildings, two with chimney's and a tower. This house took Schuld 30 to 40 hours over the course of two weeks to create.
The gingerbread house Schuld made for Madden's is almost as big as the house he made for Lowell. The Madden's house took Schuld 15 to 20 hours to make over the course of a week and has 30 to 35 pounds of sugar in the frosting alone.
MaKenna Stoner, a second-grader at Lowell Elementary School, touched the frosting on the chimney on a gingerbread house that was donated to the school. Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Schuld said making gingerbread houses is time consuming. He said you need to let the gingerbread cool to get hard before it can be assembled and the frosting has to get hard around the candy it is holding, which all takes time.
Schuld said frosting is one of the greatest materials for his gingerbread houses. He said the frosting holds the houses together and hides any imperfections, such as when roof lines of the houses don't line up.
"There's always a way to fix gingerbread houses," Schuld said. "Candy canes are great in covering up mistakes."
Bob Schuld made a gingerbread house that is used to decorate holiday parties at Madden's Resort. He made a wrap-around front porch and used chocolate rock candy for the stone work on the porch and the house. The house took him 15 to 20 hours to create and there are 30 to 35 pounds of sugar in the frosting alone. Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Schuld enjoys making the gingerbread houses because it's fun and relaxing.
"I don't make these for other people, I do it for me," Schuld said. "This is something I can do by himself.
"Of course it feels great to bring it to Lowell and see how much everyone enjoys it. It makes it well worth my time to make them."
Schuld donated a gingerbread house to Woodland Good Samaritan Village in Brainerd a few years ago that was topped with more than 100 candy canes.
"It's fun and it has become a family tradition," Schuld said. "My daughter came up with the idea of making a Halloween gingerbread house. We did it in orange and purple."
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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