I was flipping through the December 2017 issue of Style at Home magazine and came across one of the most unique and beautiful mantles I have ever seen. Lifestyle blogger Monika Hibbs designed a gingerbread display for her mantle and it was truly stunning.
I showed my husband, Craig, the beautiful design and he immediately said, "We can do that!" My husband is a chef and restauranteur by trade, but also a true artist. Not only can he create delicious food, he can also make a dish look absolutely beautiful. He acquired his artistic ability from his parents. His father had an eye for photography and his mother paints beautiful works of art. All that to say, I knew he could turn our mantle into a showstopper.
I expected to make little gingerbread houses. Craig suggested we create Paris - one of our favourite cities to visit. Now I was excited!
To accomplish the Parisian landscape we first had to make the batter. Admittedly, this is where my contribution began and ended. We made a structural gingerbread batter. We added some spices to make the batter smell like a classic gingerbread, but it's not meant to be consumed. This batter is no joke! Look up "structural gingerbread recipe" online and you'll find lots of examples.
We popped the batter in the fridge to chill for 1 hour. Once chilled, we rolled out the batter to 1/4 inch thick. Craig then cut out the designs. He freehanded his structures, but you could use a stencil, depending upon what you'd like to create.
Once the structures were baked and cool, Craig piped icing onto the gingerbread. Again, this icing isn't the sweet, delicious icing you're used to. It's meant for creations like this and doesn't really taste like anything.
In the end, Craig made the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Place D'Invilides, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame - all places in Paris that have special meaning for us.
I couldn't be happier with this deisgn. It's personal, unique and beautiful. Thank you to Monika Hibbs and Style at Home for the inspiration!
Want to see more of my husband's creations? Follow @chefcraigflinn on Twitter and Instagram.
How are you decorating your mantle for Christmas?