Saturday, December 3, 2011

Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses

     In December, my friends Jason & Debbie host gingerbread house parties for family friends. Guests bring candy, and each kid decorates his or her own house! Sometimes Jason & Debbie make the houses in advance, and other times they let school-age children make their own. We did ours after piano lessons in their neighborhood this week--our seven-person family a party makes! The next day, I did it again at home with my two preschoolers to write this post.
     If kids make their own houses, plenty of adult helpers should be on hand. Also, be prepared for a 15-minute waiting period between making the houses and decorating them while the “glue” (icing) dries.
     This is a great method for gingerbread houses because it is easier than trying to bake all the pieces in the oven and cheaper than buying a kit! Also, since I have 5 kids, it is easier to let each decorate their own little house instead of trying to do a big gingerbread house all together.
     My little engineers and artists love this project! I think it’s fun to see their individual creativity.

1. Assemble your supplies…
Platforms for houses (we used cardboard + foil)
Royal icing ingredients (confectioner’s sugar, meringue powder, water)
Ziploc baggies, each with a teeny little hole cut in one bottom corner (icing bag)
Graham crackers
Candy
Yes! Using up some Halloween leftover candy.

2. Make royal icing. It is stronger than normal icing.
This recipe is from www.allrecipes.com and was submitted by Kristen Pontier.

Ingredients for 2 cups icing:
4 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
3 Tbsp. meringue powder
6 Tbsp. water
Note: buy meringue powder (or egg white powder) in the cake-decorating section of the grocery or craft store.

-Sift powdered sugar to remove lumps.
-Combine powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water in a bowl.
Mix with electric mixer on low speed 7-10 minutes. The original recipe says “until peaks form”. This step is necessary to achieve the consistency/stickiness for the project.


-Icing can (and should!) dry out quickly, so divide it into icing baggies for your house builders.


3. Assemble graham crackers for house: a “colonial” style house takes 4 long (whole) crackers, and 2 square crackers (whole cracker broken in half).
A house kit
4. Start with 2 adjoining walls
(one long, one short in “L” shape).
Ice sides of the crackers that will contact each other or the platform.

A piping we will go…


The first 2 walls are up!
(My crackers are bowed, but they still do the job.)
5. Once those 2 walls are up, hold them in place for a couple minutes to dry. (We sang a couple verses of Jingle Bells.)

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way..."
(Note this child's smaller floorplan.)
6. Add another wall. Sing. (Wait.)

7. Add the last wall. Sing. (Wait.)

8. The roof is the trickiest part!  Lay a thick layer of frosting along top of both long walls (parallel walls). 

“Long” sides are iced, waiting for roof to be added.

On each of your 2 long “roof crackers” pipe plenty of icing along the side that will join them together (the roof peak). Carefully lower the entire roof onto the house. Hold for awhile!

It worked! Cozy, huh?
9. Let the house dry for about 15 minutes. If kids are helping, send them off to play. If they try to add candy now, they’ll make the whole thing fall down!

Helpful tip: Houses are much harder to fix than build!

10. Use frosting to add candy to roof, walls, and “yard”. We told the kids to start with the yard so the house would have a few more minutes to dry and the kids would gain skill and be less likely to squish their house.


The Little Guy’s shack.
This post is linked to:
Susie QT's Christmas link party
Made By You Monday
Market Yourself Monday
Bedazzle Me Monday
Making the World Cuter
Tuesday Talent Show
Show Me What Ya Got
Tuesday Confessional Link Party
Tuesday Tutorials Link Party
Penny Pinching Party
Gingerbread Linky Party

5 comments:

  1. I have been wanting to do this with my kids but did NOT want to make gingerbread shapes. This is a great alternative. Thanks! I have stumbled this post. I am a new follower visiting from Making the World Cuter. Vicky from Mess For Less

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  2. I made these growing up and continue the tradition with my kids. The worst part is putting the house together and waiting for the icing to dry so you can decorate (the best part). I now make my kids life easier by hot gluing the houses together. They don't eat the graham crackers anyways. You can use icing and candy to hide any glue that may show through. This is something my kids look forward too every Dec.

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  3. The gingerbread party is a great idea. Children and adults as well seem to love gingerbread houses. I am having a Gingerbread Linky Party now until Dec.12th.
    I would love to have you show one of your houses. Please come if you can.
    ------Shannon

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  4. The crackers look like a sturdier house...they won't blow down as easily! heehee! Thanks for the how to...I love it! ♥

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