How it's done in big time Pennsylvania THERE'S a building boom every Christmas season in Strasburg, Pa. Cabins and cottages, churches and castles seem to spring up overnight. And they're all edible. They are, of course, gingerbread houses, entries in the annual Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Gingerbread House Inn-vitational Inn-vitational Inn-vitational at Historic Strasburg Inn. The contest began in 1982, as part of the Inn's Christmas season activities. activities. It has become a yuletide tradition, with participants of all ages and from several states vying for more than $3,000 in cash prizes. Professional chefs and bakers are asked to create a gingerbread replica of a historic building or their place of business. The public has a choice of entering a historic replica, a -gingerbread -gingerbread train, or a gingerbread gingerbread house. There are also categories for schools and groups, teen-agers, teen-agers, teen-agers, and children. The rules require entries to be constructed after Aug. 1 and be made entirely of edible materials, with the exception of the mounting ff surface. ' Judging and awards are set for . Nov. 30, when the Inn lights up the property for its annual Grand Illumination. Illumination. . This year's grand marshal judge is Tina Strepko of Ephrata, Pa., who won the grand prize the last three years. Her recipe: " GINGERBREAD DOUGH 6 cups flour 2'a tsp. cinnamon IVt tsp. ginger Vfe tsp. salt IVa cups light com syrup 1V cups brown sugar, packed 1 cup margarine (or butter) "Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a two-quart two-quart two-quart saucepan, mix the corn syrup, brown sugar and margarine, stirring constantly until the margarine melts. Add this mixture mixture to the flour mixture, and blend well. Refrigerate the dough until it is easy to handle. Roll it out, cut the desired pieces, and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until The ingredients: spices, honey, eggs, flour pieces are lightly browned and feel firm when touched lightly. "I roll out all my gingerbread on sheets of foil, and then place those on a cookie sheet," Strepko says. "After I remove the gingerbread from the oven, I slide the foil sheets off the cookie sheets, and let the gingerbread cool completely before removing the foil backing." The Associated Press f .... imigeirbireodl o " I X ! ! 1 s J IS: r ' Y '-V '-V '-V " JIT William Rubel and replica of 'Gingerbread is one of the oldest known baked goods that we eat. Honey cakes were made in Rome, and from there it got more and more complicated.' co ir J a Mission Street Victorian. William Rubel J t f J ' . i : ft. . ft .'in lir I ii i I Hi 1 ' ' ? ' i n mm e dl d 1 Photos by Pete Amos is? . u mm Houses are just part of the contest SOMETHING new - an additional additional category has been added to this year's Gingerbread Gingerbread House contest and show Dec. 7 at Louden Nelson Center. The show, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is open to all aspiring gingerbread artists. The new category is mixed media. Other types of entries may include best historical structure, most original, original, grand prize, popular favorite and graham cracker. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, third and honorable mention in these categories: pre-school, pre-school, pre-school, elementary school age, junior-senior junior-senior junior-senior high, adult, family, group and professional. professional. Entries will be accepted at the Nelson Center from 5-7 5-7 5-7 p.m. Dec. 6 or 8:30-9:30 8:30-9:30 8:30-9:30 a.m. Dec.7. Judging will take place during the morning, and results will be announced at 2 p.m. The entry fee is $3 for a person or group and $5 for unlimited entries by the same person, group or family. Admission to the show will be $1 for adults and 50 cents for children; an exhibit of antique toys will be included. Many recipes are available for gingerbread of the building variety. This traditional German recipe is suggested by Wolfgang Thrun, who sponsored a Gingerbread House contest contest for many years in Santa Cruz. The cake is hard, good for building, building, and not memorable to eat, although technically it is edible. Plans should be made ahead of time and a pattern drawn, because the pieces should be cut before they are baked. GINGERBREAD HOUSE DOUGH 7 cups all-purpose all-purpose all-purpose flour 4 eggs 1 cup honey cup brown sugar Vi cup soft margarine Vi tsp. cinnamon y tsp. nutmeg y tsp. ginger Warm honey; when cool, mix all ingredients togpther until dough is firm and easy to handle. Roll out dough about y to -inch -inch thickness. Cut desired shapes for gingerbread house and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 35-40 35-40 35-40 minutes, until gingerbread is very firm to the touch. Remove to wire racks to cool. FROSTING 3 egg whites 1 lb. confectioner's sugar Va tsp. cream of tartar Beat together until thick and fluffy, fluffy, approximately 7-10 7-10 7-10 minutes at medium speed with electric mixer. Makes 2 cups. Use to glue walls together, and to decorate. This frosting frosting gets VERY hard when it dries. Other ideas for decorations: fani colors, candies, nuts and any other edible items that will not spoil quickly-After quickly-After quickly-After quickly-After the contest, entries may be picked up before 7 p.m. Those not claimed will be donated to a worthy cause, according to Cynthia Mathews of the Santa Cruz Historical Historical Society, which is sponsoring the contest. For other information, call 423-8977. 423-8977. 423-8977. - - .