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240-Pound Gingerbread House on Display in WP

Pastry chefs spent four days piecing together the home, designed as a replica of the Kykuit Mansion, the former home of the Rockefeller family.

It took 55 pounds of sugar, 35 pounds of flour and about 150 hours to build, but the holiday gingerbread house at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in White Plains is finished and ready for the holiday season.

The model house is a replica of the Kykuit Mansion, a former estate of the Rockefeller family located in Sleepy Hollow. The gingerbread house weighs approximately 240 pounds and, so far, is the largest gingerbread house on display in the county.

Pastry chefs Samantha Cohen, of New Rochelle, Diana Garcia, of Harrison, and Jackie Veliz, of White Plains did the legwork on the project. The chefs work at Creme de la Creme, a bakery in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

All three worked on a similar project last year, but plans for this year's gingerbread house were more ambitious, said Veliz. Hundreds of pieces of gingerbread had to be stacked together just to get the frame off the ground.

"It was fun once that was done because we laid down the candy and decorations," Veliz said, "that's the best part."

Thirteen different types of candy were used to decorate the house. Three sculptures were meticulously formed out of gum paste. Other designs including windows and archways had to be carefully put up or carved by hand.

Work for the project began this fall when the pastry chefs began visiting sites to look for a building to replicate.

"When we saw it, we thought there were a lot of things that would translate well into gingerbread," said Cohen. "Once we visited it we knew right then and there."

After that, the chefs spend months sketching plans for the project and ordering hundreds of pounds of cooking supplies. The model was assembled over four days.

The gingerbread house will remain on display in lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel through the holiday season.

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