Gingerbread Contest: A Discovery Cube Tradition | NBC Southern California
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Gingerbread Contest: A Discovery Cube Tradition

Ready to build something amazing, edible, and engineer-ific?

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    Discovery Cube
    Gingerbread artists will go for the gooey glory at The Discovery Cube in Santa Ana, during the center's The Science of Gingerbread exhibit. (Pictured: Fairy Village by Ruby Raphael)

    TO HEAR SOMEONE CLAIM... that gingerbread houses are a snap to build can make even the most chill baker grow as hot as an oven under the collar. After all, the fashioning of a small but somewhat complicated structure takes patience and creativity and a knack for making walls stand and doors strong and a roof that looks impressive (and one that won't cave in due to an excess of icing). There's some engineering and architectural prowess to it, in short, and these notions weave into the annual Science of Gingerbread show at The Discovery Cube in Santa Ana. Oh, for sure, we want gingerbread houses to be as whimsical as a fairy tale, complete with gumdrop-laden shrubs and windows made of pink sugar. But to learn how chemistry and heat and spatial positioning go into the process is as important as deciding where to put the next pretty plop of frosting. Ready to celebrate both the bite-able parts and the brain-embiggening structures of gingerbread houses? And maybe even compete with your own? Then make for...

    ORANGE COUNTY... through Sunday, Jan. 3. There are a few learning stations to be found throughout the exhibit -- kitchen chemistry, gingerbread spices, and building a house comprise the station trio -- and there's some nifty 3D printing of gingerbread structures, too (how far tech has come if it can take on the cookie classics). There's a Gingerbread Derby Competition, and a few special happenings on special dates, like Santa stop-bys and the decorating of sweets. And, yep, "(l)ocal companies, schools, families and organizations" will throw their hats in the ring during the annual Gingerbread Competition. Actually, nothing whatsoever will be thrown; anyone who as ever made a gingerbread house knows that the operative word is "ginger," as in "gingerly," as in tiptoe carefully with whatever wall or chimney or door piece you happen to be holding. It's the tastiest time of year at the fun-stuff-for-the-mind destination, and one that returns each year to deliver the nuts and bolts of our nummiest holiday tradition. That the "nuts" and "bolts" are made out of dough and cinnamon make The Science of Gingerbread one of the most offbeat exhibits around.