This was not your mama's holiday baking.
San Jacinto College Pastry Chef Program students made mass quantities look easy with their construction of the annual gingerbread village at the North Campus.
After weeks of preparation, quantity baking and cake decorating classes assembled the village Dec. 5 for display on campus before the holiday break.
The project scale — five gallons of molasses, 80 pounds of flour, and 100 pounds of powdered sugar — put the average home kitchen's December output to shame.
"I include this project in our curriculum because it is a common request of pastry chefs this time of year," said Chef Andrea Huerta, North Campus culinary arts program director. "It's overwhelming if you have never done it before."
Students turned out sheet after sheet of spice-infused gingerbread in mid-November. Next, they cut the house walls using templates, toasted the pieces to harden them, and assembled the houses.
Finally, students decorated the houses and arranged them in the village, along with candy landscaping.
The project teaches time management, large batch cooking, and construction and design skills.
"It's a very fun project to get behind," Huerta said. "I never have trouble getting students to buy in to the excitement of this project."
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