Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Super Simple "Gingerbread" Houses

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I have posted a couple of times about our "Gingerbread House Decorating Parties". And I use the term "gingerbread" loosely here, because, in fact they are graham crackers.

Here is how I create the magic. (And I use the term "create" loosely here. And "magic".)

I buy several boxes of graham crackers, and I assemble the houses the night before the party using *royal icing. (*See recipe below.)

I learned the hard way that the houses do not have sufficient time to harden if they are constructed the day of the party, and there is nothing sadder at Christmas time than a room full of bawling preschoolers looking at a broken pile of graham crackers.

Another thing I have learned is "the bigger they are, the EASIER they fall." I usually use 1/2 of the long cracker for each wall and each roof portion when preschoolers are involved. They are sturdier and can handle clumsy hands.

For the older kids, I use a whole cracker for each wall and 2 whole crackers for each side of the roof, bringing the cracker total to 8 for each house. (Click to enlarge the photo.)

Be generous with the icing. Apply it to each side of the joint, inside and out.If your icing is on the thick side, construction will be easier. See those drippy ones on the right? That was my second batch of icing and it was really too thin for my liking. It made construction more difficult. And drippier.

Construct the four walls of each house and let them harden about an hour before putting the roof on. This will ensure that the walls are sturdy enough not to slide apart from the weight of the roof.

The next day, make some more royal icing and give each child a glob and a bowl full of candy and LET THE FUN BEGIN!

*Royal Icing
3 egg whites
4 Cups powdered sugar (1lb.)
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Check out more photos of the "gingerbread" fun!
Smockity Gingerbread Houses 2007
Smockity Gingerbread Houses 2008

Be sure to go to Rocks In My Dryer for more "Works For Me" tips.


Lorie said...

I love 'gingerbread' houses. We do actual houses for the big kids and the little kids get the cracker houses!

Yours look great!

Blue Castle said...

Awesome! I'll have to remember this. Thank you for sharing. :)

Jen said...

This is totally cool! Last year I bought a "kit" for the kids to use, but this actually looks alot funner. I bought gingerbread mix this year and we are patiently waiting for it to get a little closer to Christmas day to make cookies. To roll or not to roll? That is the question... lol

Hadley Coble said...

looks like easy fun! your table looks so festive!

Pat's Place said...

I love those! I don't see how you have time to do that, but it is a wonderful idea! I am having grandchildren next week--guess what we might try???

Mom2three said...

I'm doing Gingerbread houses tonight with Royal Icing, but made the Gingerbread dough up instead of using the crackers because of the lack of drying time. Our kids did this in youth group, with the crackers, and loved it! Had TONS of fun! Thanks for sharing.

Lori said...

I just made these last night with the kids and they loved them! I did a post with pictures and linked back to you since it was your brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing!

Janet said...

Just discovered your blog--great stuff! Must say, I don't think I have ever really seen a dung beetle until now. As for this post, a great way to "cheat" with the littles, is use a small milk carton (like the school kind) or whipping cream carton. Even the very young can be successful sticking their graham crackers onto the carton. I haven't reviewed your whole blog yet, but would love to hear organizational tips, we're adding 5th child through adoption soon, and 6th not long after that.

Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy said...

You are so stinkin' brilliant woman. We will be doing that next year, remind me :)

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