Graham Cracker ‘Ginger Bread’ Houses!

These adorable little houses are so festive and so much fun to make with your kids!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When my son was in preschool, his sweet teacher asked another Mom, named Katie, and myself to host our children’s class holiday party. Katie came up with this adorable idea to decorate tiny versions of “gingerbread houses”! I can still remember how the children’s faces lit up when they realized that they were going to decorate one of these magical little edible creations themself! My son still talks about it with joy in his eyes!  I encourage you to make these adorable houses with your children or maybe even host a “ginger bread’ decorating party in your child’s class like we did!  

PRINT Graham Cracker ‘Ginger Bread’ House Instructions

 

What you’ll need to create the frame of the house:

2 full graham crackers cut in half

2 full graham crackers cut into a point, as shown

1 cup of granulated sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Before melting the granulated sugar to use as “glue” for the graham cracker walls, cut the graham crackers as shown. This will help to avoid your sugar “glue” from thickening as you are cutting the walls.)

 

TO MAKE THE SUGAR ‘GLUE’ FOR THE ROOF AND WALLS:

Melt the granulated sugar on medium heat in a non-stick skillet, stirring constantly with a metal whisk.  Once the sugar is completely melted, turn the stove to low.  Do not remove the pan from the stove, otherwise the “glue” will start to cool and thicken.

With the skillet still on the stove, very carefully dip the edges of the walls as instructed below.  (As the sugar stays on the stove it will begin as a light brown color and then will darken.  This is normal.  The icing and candy, which you decorate the house with, will cover the dark “glue” that is showing on the seams of the house.)

PLEASE NOTE:  THE MELTED GRANULATED SUGAR WILL BE EXTREMELY HOT!!  PLEASE USE CAUTION WHEN DIPPING THE EDGES OF THE GRAHAM CRACKERS INTO THE MELTED SUGAR AND PLEASE DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN HELP YOU WITH THIS STEP!!

“Glue” 1 of the pointed wall pieces to the edge of a short wall piece and hold in place for a few seconds until it cools and hardens. (To make the roof fit best, glue the pointed wall pieces to the inner wall of the short wall pieces, instead of the outer edge.  If you glue the pointed wall pieces to the outer edge of the short wall pieces the roof won’t have enough surface to adhere to.)

Next, take your last pointed wall piece and dip into the “glue”.  Hold it up against the other edge of the short wall piece for a few seconds until cooled.

Take the last short piece and dip the bottom and two side edges into the glue.  Hold up against the edges of the pointed wall pieces to closing off the open area remaining.   (When the walls are complete the short wall pieces will be across from each other and likewise with the pointed wall pieces.)

Use the remaining 2 short wall pieces to close in the roof. Dip 3 of the edges of each short wall piece into the “glue” and lay across the open area of the roof.  The “unglued” edge will be the “overhang” of the roof.

 

 TO MAKE THE DECORATIVE ICING YOU’LL NEED:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

2 egg whites, beaten

DIRECTIONS:  In a bowl, sift together confectioners’ sugar and cream of tartar.  Using an electric mixer, beat in 2 egg whites for approximately 5 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to hold it’s shape.  Pour into a piping bag with a small holed tip.

 

 TO DECORATE THE HOUSE YOU’LL NEED:

Small candy canes

M&M’s

Red Hots

Starlight mints

Spice drops

Skittles

Shoelace licorice

Christmas tree and snowman shaped Peeps

Lifesavers

Licorice pastels

Small gumballs

Necco wafers

Small Ginger Bread Man cookies

These are just some fun and colorful suggestions for candies to decorate your house with!  Be creative and gain inspiration from your local candy shop or the candy aisle of your favorite super market!

You can use the black shoelace licorice with Skittles or mini jaw breakers “glued” to it to create a strand of lights around the edge of your house.  Use Starlight mints as windows or wreaths. Place the snowman and Christmas tree Peeps and the small ginger bread men cookies in the front yard of your house nestled into the icing “snow” to stabilize them.  Use the Necco wafers overlapped on each other as roof shingles.  Use your imagination and have fun!  The combinations are endless!

 

~TWIN’S TIPS~

  • Use a sharp knife when cutting the graham crackers, it will help keep the graham crackers from cracking before you’ve made the cut.
  • To make the graham crackers a little less brittle when cutting the points into them, warm them in the microwave for about 20 seconds. This will allow the knife to make a clean cut without breaking off the point. (Or leave them unwrapped overnight to let them get slightly “stale”, making them a bit “softer”. Also, store brand graham crackers seem to be a bit less brittle than Nabisco.)
  • Before you begin decorating the house with candy, pipe a line of icing into the seems of all the edges.  It gives the house a nice “snowy” feel.  You can also affix candy to the seems as you pipe on the icing.
  • Cover small areas at a time with icing.  If you jump ahead and cover too much area the icing will begin to harden before you’ve had time to affix the candy  to it.
  • You can make larger houses by leaving the walls and roof pieces whole instead of cutting them in half.  The pointed wall piece will still be cut the same as that which you used for the small house.
  • Make several of these houses in advance and divide candy into Styrofoam cups and take into your child’s classroom as a holiday craft idea for the kids to make together!  (“Glue” the house to a paper plate by dipping the bottom edge of all the walls into the sugar “glue”, so that the house doesn’t slide off the plate when the child carries it home.)  Fill several piping bags with icing, so that several children can be decorating at one time.  Enlist other Mom’s to help pipe icing, so the children aren’t having to wait for a grown up to help them proceed.
  • When making the houses in advance, hide a special candy, treat or toy inside the walls of the house!  This will give your child a little surprise to look forward to when they break the house apart to eat it!  Or don’t mention it at all and let them be really surprised!
  • Use ginger bread flavored graham crackers to give it a real “ginger bread house” taste!  This flavor is only available during the holiday season, so stock up!  You can use this same concept to make Easter Graham Cracker Ginger Bread Houses, too!  Use pastel colored candy to give it a cheery “Spring” appearance!
  • Use colored sugar crystals to sprinkle in the yard to create walkways, paths or driveways.
  • Use Kit Kat candy bars to create fences or garden patch borders.
  • Another great way to create Christmas trees in the front yard is to cover upside down sugar cones in icing and sprinkling with green sugar crystals and affixing candy “ornaments” and a candy star at the top!

Once you are finished with the melted sugar “glue” please discard carefully.  If taken off the stove it will harden making it almost impossible to get out of the skillet.  Pour the unused hot melted sugar “glue” directly into an empty soup can and let cool before throwing away.  Also, run your whisk under hot tap water immediately and then let soak in a cup of hot water to remove all the stuck on sugar before it has a chance to harden.

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