Back when I was young and pregnant with my first child I started a tradition of making gingerbread houses as one of our Thanksgiving Day celebrations.
I used to make gingerbread dough and use this mold to make all the pieces to form a house. It took quite a bit of time as each house needed 2 of these molds baked and I made one house for each family to build. I was making about 5-7 each year. That was fine and dandy when that was all I had to worry about, but when we bought our home, things were changing in our extended family and we began having Thanksgiving at our home. With all that came with preparing my home for a large group and sit down dinner, plus stuffing and cooking the turkey, I had to find a simpler way to do our gingerbread houses. On top of that, families were growing and the children wanted their own house to decorate so that meant more houses. Here is what I came up with, I don’t think it can get much easier than this. ENJOY!
- A box or two of Graham Crackers (each house takes 3 graham crackers)
- Granulated sugar
- Candy (first-raid your children’s Halloween leftovers- Nerds, smarties, tootsie rolls … then go shop for the rest).
- Large paper plate or cardboard covered in foil
- Decorating bags or bottles for frosting
- Royal Icing (below)
- 4cups powdered sugar
- 3 egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter
Place all ingredients in a medium, nonplastic mixing bowl. Beat at low speed or electric mixer 5-7 minutes or until icing is glossy and holds peaks. The icing dries very quickly; place in airtight container and refrigerate until use. Mix thoroughly before using. Icing may be tinted using food coloring (liquid, paste, or powder), if desired. Yield 2 cups (up to 10 of these houses).
To make the walls of the houses I create a “candy glue” by melting sugar in a small pot on medium heat, no need to boil, just get it melted and remove from heat. Then break a graham cracker in half and dip it into the melted sugar and hold the two pieces together at a 90 degree angle until it cools, ablout 10 seconds).
I make enough to have 3 per house. Some people may want more so they can make a castle or some other grand invention. Also, it is good to have a few extra on hand as sometimes with children they get broken and as those tears begin roll, because they just broke their wall, you will pull another from your stash and they will think you are the best, and all will be well.
Now have fun and create!! The best part of this activity is being together, laughing together, creating together.
Be creative. You don’t have to only use three crackers per house, you can build something larger if you feel like it. You can even make a competition of it if you have older kids.
See the happy!