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N. TONAWANDA BAKERS PUT FINAL TOUCHES ON GINGERBREAD CASTLE TO AID CHILDREN

What do you get when you mix 20 pounds of granulated sugar, 100 pounds of flour and about 200 pounds of confectionery sugar?

A sugar rush, for one thing. The biggest gingerbread house for miles around, for another. And, a fund-raiser for Children's Hospital of Buffalo.

Hansel and Gretel would swoon with delight when gazing upon the tasty gingerbread castle being constructed by cousins Ernest W. Ramstetter and David M. Muscoreil at Muscoreil's Fine Desserts, 441 Payne Ave. in North Tonawanda.

The busy elves, who own the business, have been baking and decorating the tasty work of art, which they will raffle off Thursday. The proceeds from the $1 tickets will go to Children's Hospital, Ramstetter said.

This is the fourth year the bakery has built the gingerbread castle, a project that has raised $500 to $2,000 each year for charities. This year, he said, the money will go to buy toys for children in the hospital.

This year's project, said Ramstetter, is a variation of a German ice castle called Neuschwanstein. Ramstetter said the retail value of the house would be $4,000.

"The little guys are what counts at Christmas, and that's what it's all about," said Ramstetter.

He said it completing the castle takes 80 to 120 hours, with 10 volunteers helping to assemble and decorate it.

Last year's house weighed 275 pounds, he added, "It took seven guys to take it out of the bakery. It was huge."

This year's confection will contain 193 pieces of gingerbread, plus the candies and round and pointy turrets atop the castle, Ramstetter said. "I bet it's easily got 1,000 pieces once its all together.

The most difficult part of the masterpiece, he said, is rolling out 1the "gigundous" gingerbread components.

"Every piece of it is edible," he added.

"We all have fun with it," Muscoreil said. "It's for a good cause."

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