Too pretty to eat: St. John's woman bakes gingerbread Basilica

There’s a miniature Basilica inside the well known Roman Catholic church this holiday season—although it’s a lot more delicious than the original.

Hobby raises money for children's school

Baking is just a hobby for Colleen Stone, but she spent 65 hours creating a gingerbread model of the Basilica. (CBC)

There's a miniature Basilica inside the historic St. john's church this holiday season—although it's a lot more delicious than the original.

Colleen Stone has created a large gingerbread model of the Basilica, and it's now on display.

The finished product. (Colleen Stone)

The gingerbread Basilica is 100 per cent edible. The figurines were made out of icing and the baby Jesus cradle was carved out of an Easter egg. (Colleen Stone)
"Every year we do a Newfoundland-themed gingerbread house and this year was the Basilica," said Stone.

"We thought it was a bit lofty to try it, but it worked out."
Colleen Stone created the stained glass windows on the gingerbread Basilica using melted Jolly Rancher candies. (CBC)

The miniature church is entirely edible—everything from the cross on the roof to the snowmen out in front are made of gingerbread or candy.

The statues are made of white chocolate, the trees are made from ice cream cones, and the cradle for baby Jesus is a carved-out candy egg.

Even the multi-coloured stained glass windows are sweet. Stone made them by melting Jolly Ranchers.

Gingerbread creations a fundraiser for school

For the past four years, Stone has made large, elaborate gingerbread houses to raffle off as a fundraiser for her children's school, St. Bonaventure's College.

In previous years Stone has made a gingerbread Jelly Bean Row, a saltbox house, and last year she made an edible St. Bonaventure's College. The Basilica, she said, was her most ambitious project yet.
Colleen Stone created this gingerbread model of St. Bonaventure's College, her children's school, last holiday season. (Colleen Stone)
This Jelly Bean Row was the first gingerbread structure Colleen Stone ever made, four years ago. (Colleen Stone)

"You have to have a little bit of patience, but I think if you've seen it once you realize it's not as hard as it looks," she said,

"Not everybody's going to build a Basilica, but just your little gingerbread houses, they're fun too."
More like a sweet box house? Colleen Stone created this saltbox gingerbread house three years ago. (Colleen Stone)

Basilica took 65 hours to make

Stone says the gingerbread Basilica took 65 hours to make, not including planning time. Her two daughters and husband were involved in the intensive process, which began back in September.

After designing the structure on paper, the family built a cardboard model first to make sure everything was the right size.
Colleen Stone baked and decorated the gingerbread Basilica in separate pieces before assembling them. (Colleen Stone)

Stone baked all the pieces individually, decorated them while they were lying flat, and then put it all together.

Baking just a hobby

Stone is not a professional baker; she's a stay-at-home mom who simply loves to bake.
Light shines through the gingerbread Basilica's 'stained glass' windows, which are actually made from melted Jolly Ranchers. (Colleen Stone)

"This is fun," said Stone.

'I've always baked, always. It's something. I got up this morning and made cookies before the kids went to school. It's something we always do."

She said that when the school first asked her if she was interested in making a gingerbread house, she didn't think that she should.
No you're not seeing double...a gingerbread Basilica is resting inside the stone Basilica. (CBC)

"I didn't think it'd be good enough. But I said we'd try, and it worked," she said.

Stone said she's not sure what the church will do with the gingerbread Basilica once the holidays are over, but said it will certainly still be good to eat.

About the Author

Laura Howells

CBC News

Laura Howells is a journalist from St. John's who's now working in Toronto.


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