Kids love building and decorating gingerbread houses, but baking the gingerbread and constructing the houses can sometimes be difficult and time-consuming.
Save yourself some of the trouble with these easy "gingerbread" houses made from graham crackers and frosting. You can make just one for each of your own children or build a batch of them and throw a gingerbread house-decorating party, where each child decorates their own house and takes it home at the end of the event.
How to Make a Graham Cracker "Gingerbread" House
For each house, you will need:
- Seven double graham crackers (two rectangular crackers per piece).
- Two quadruple graham crackers (four rectangles per piece).
- A serrated knife.
- A batch of royal icing .
- A cake-decorator bag (plastic sandwich bags with a small hole poked in one corner work just fine).
Step 1: Fill your bag with royal icing.
Step 2: Using the serrated knife, saw off the top left and right corners of one of the quadruple crackers to create what will be one of the house's gables. Repeat with the other quadruple cracker.
Step 3: Place one double cracker on the table and pipe icing along all four edges. Working quickly, place the house's four walls (including the two with gables, which should stand across from each other) onto the icing and pipe more icing where the crackers touch vertically.
Step 4: Pipe icing along the top edges of the house and rest the two remaining double crackers on top of it to form a roof.
Allow time to dry and harden.
Milk Carton Gingerbread House Alternative
Another easy gingerbread house method is to use small milk cartons as the base of your building, and then glue the graham crackers to the sides of the container. This will provide a sturdy base on which the kids can create their homes (but the entire buildings will not be edible).
Decorating the Houses
Once it's time to decorate, set out candy and give the kids some gingerbread house decorating ideas. Each child should also have his own plastic sandwich bag of royal icing that's tied off and has a small hole poked in one corner, to use as a gluing tool for the adornments.
Some candy decorating items you may want to use include:
- Candy canes.
- Peppermint rounds.
- Skittles or M&M's.
- Snow-caps candies.
- Sugar wafer cookies.
- Mini marshmallows.
Write the name of each child on a paper plate and place the finished houses on the plates as they dry. Once the party is over, you can wrap them in plastic cling wrap and the kids can take home their creations.
Traditional, home-baked gingerbread houses are a wonderful way to celebrate the season, but when you have a lot of houses to build and excited kids to entertain, these easier versions are the perfect recipe for a fun (but messy!) winter holiday party.
Updated by Christine Gauvreau