Top chef offers tips on gingerbread houses

Christmas is just around the corner, so for many, that means making a gingerbread house. Many hotels also enjoy the challenge of dramatic gingerbread houses and two of the county’s top resorts, the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa and the Pebble Beach Resorts, are already planning their creations.
   Located on Riviera Beach, the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island’s creation will be done by Pastry Chef Kirsten Restivo and, for the first time the house will offer interactive elements. Last year’s gingerbread shack took over 1,000 hours, 1,800 gum balls, 110 eggs and more than 34 pounds of sugar. Chef Restivo expects to unveil this year’s delight on Nov. 27.
   Over at Pebble Beach Resorts, Pastry Chef Anastasia Simpson is gearing up for her display in the lobby of The Inn of Spanish Bay. This year’s house will be built vertically that will draw the eyes up for a look at an intricate, tiered cake-style display. The five-level house will feature several small gingerbread houses, each one distinct. After a month of hard work, the display should be unveiled on Dec. 1.
   For those wanting to do their own gingerbread houses, Chef Restivo recommends getting creative with different shapes for the house and to use cardboard as the base of the scene and cut a hole under where they house will site. Then, buy an inexpensive nightlight, remove the cover and poke the light through the underneath hole to illuminate the house.
   Chef also recommends using Snickers for creating textured walls and slice it very thin for the best effect.  To create a strangled light effect on the roof or to fashion a wreath, try using Nerds rope candy, and colored almonds are perfect for a dramatic roof effect.

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