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My Neighbor Totoro Gingerbread

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When I originally announced my plans for this year’s gingerbread house I had something very different in mind.  I was in a Hayao Miyazaki mood ever since I learned of his plans for retirement.  Since I didn’t have much time this year, I thought I’d go with something simple.  I have to admit, I didn’t know what the house from My Neighbor Totoro looked like before I started looking into the specs.  I thought it was just a square shack.  For those of you equally unfamiliar, it looks more like a house with several unusual additions, which I admit didn’t all make it into the finished structure.

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I spent more time adding bits of whimsy instead of trying to make an amazing structure.  The outside edge is sushi grass, which turns out to be very affordable, and now I have a lifetime supply.  The yard is filled with sprinkles, and the little garden patch is cinnamon.  The roof is covered in fondant strips, which went a lot faster than originally I thought.  I used a food coloring pen to get all those tiny details.  The windows are my most exciting development in gingerbread construction.  I wanted a material that would mimic Japanese paper doors, shoji, with it’s lattice texture.  I thought about those Vietnamese spring rolls that you can see the ingredients through the paper, and when I found them in the store, I was happy to find they came already imprinted with a lattice pattern.  They were very easy to cut, and I simply applied two overlapping pieces to control the level of opaqueness I was looking for.  Here’s a rare look at the backside.

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There wasn’t a whole lot of time to enjoy the house, but at least we didn’t have to go a year without one.

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Here’s to another successful gingerbread house, can’t wait to see what next year brings.

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