Two years ago, I snagged a humongous deal on gingerbread houses after Christmas. I was so happy with my savings as I tucked them away to wait until our Advent calendar reached the special day when I could pull them out to surprise my children.
Almost 365 days later, the day I had awaited finally arrived and as I went to get the gingerbread houses from my hiding place… I realized that I had hid them so well I had no idea where they were. Bill and I searched everywhere we could think. No use. They were gone. Trolls had come in during the night and stolen our gingerbread house kits.
What was I going to do? Our children were expecting to decorate little, edible homes for little edible people. That is when I remembered a friend saying that she made her gingerbread homes from graham crackers.
What you need for the gingerbread house
- Royal icing (I used the recipe at Wilton.com.)
- Graham crackers
- Wax or parchment paper
- Serrated knife
How to build gingerbread houses from graham crackers
I am blessed to have a KitchenAid Mixer, and I was able to mix up the royal icing quickly without a problem. My next step was scooping the icing into plastic, zip-top bags and sealing the bags until I was ready to use them.
Next step was cutting the triangle pieces which would become the sides of the gingerbread house under the eaves. I broke the crackers in half and then cut from the center of one side to the edge of the other. This cut created a smaller triangle from each side of the cracker. I decided since I had these extra pieces to build a chimney for each gingerbread house.
Be sure to use a serrated (bread or tomato) knife and a gentle sawing motion. Also be prepared with extra crackers because casualties are highly likely.
With the graham cracker pieces ready to go, I squeezed the icing down into the corner of a bag, secured it with a bag clip, and snipped the corner.
I had divided the icing into three different bags so I did not have to worry about this bag of icing getting dry. However, if your icing gets dry at the tip and clogs the opening, I recommend cutting the hole slightly larger and removing the clog by pressing the tip.
The chimney is the hardest part to “glue” with the icing. Honestly, if I do this again, I will probably skip the chimney and not regret it one bit. Don’t let that scare you off from this project! This is really an easy way to make a gingerbread house.
The graham crackers held together very well and the gingerbread houses came together quickly. I started with a basic box, added the triangle as a resting place for the eaves of the roof, and then added the roof.
When I was about to attach the roof, I remembered how my dad used to glue wood pieces together by putting glue on both pieces. While I am not sure why it works, the graham crackers held perfectly to the gingerbread house.
The royal icing took about an hour to dry and while I was waiting, I gathered the candy. Since we have a lot of birthday parties in the fall and also have a Fall Festival where the children bring home bags of candy, I always have an abundance for decorating Christmas goodies.
No need to buy expensive decorations, but if you do, I personally love the Wilton Gingerbread House Holiday Candies Assortment. This kit is always available at my local Michael’s craft store, so I print out the coupon and pick up a box gingerbread decorations once a year to go with our leftover candy.
I also prepped the table before I called the children over to decorate their gingerbread houses by using packaging tape to attached a square of parchment paper to each child’s side of the table.
Once the table was set with everything the children needed to decorate their gingerbread houses, the fun began.
While older children will have no problem using the icing bag, younger children will need assistance.
In our home, we find that the decorating it easy for little hands when we either squirt the icing and let the children place the candies where they want them or give them a child-safe knife with a bowl of icing. Either way, the children will have tons of fun…
and you will too!