There is something so charming and sweet about a gingerbread house that they have been known to inspire even the least crafty to attempt to build their own. After all, what says traditional Christmas more than a roaring fire, a beautiful Christmas tree, aglow with lights and ornaments and beside them an edible gingerbread masterpiece? Well, nothing really. I do have to take this opportunity to tell you that it does lose some of it’s appeal if said gingerbread house is hurled into the lovely roaring fire, filling the house with an incredibly smelly smoke and making your family members fear even more for your sanity than usual. Making a gingerbread house seems fairly simple , until you start in! Keeping the gingerbread at the correct thickness, cutting out your template, working with the bread as you assemble the house so as not to break it or crumble it into pieces. AHHHH!
There is hope however for the gingerbread house challenged. My Mother stumbled upon a simple, yet crafty and lovely, idea to make the houses. The beauty of these houses is that they can be made sweet and simple or go crazy for an elaborate masterpiece and it will still not involve a great amount of skill, time or money. This is one of those things that could easily become a holiday tradition at my home because it’s so child friendly and easy that if the adults are busy doing something terribly important like cooking Thanksgiving dinner or screaming at the tv that the quarterback is a bum, well the older children can take over and direct the younger ones to build their masterpieces.
So here it is folks, you’ll need a box of graham crackers, a can of cake frosting, a pastry bag or sturdy plastic bag with one of the corners cut out, some assorted candies and other food stuffs for decoration, and a piece of fairly sturdy cardboard to wrap in aluminum foil to assemble your house on . If you have a pastry bag you can use one of the larger fancy tips to run a bead of frosting down the edges of the crackers to make the walls and roof stick together. If not put your frosting into something like a plastic freezer storage bag, cut off one corner, just the tip so it leaves you with a hole, slightly smaller than quarter inch wide. Experiment a little first to see what looks best to you. A nice size for the houses is one half cracker per wall, once you get the shell of the house together using the frosting like glue down the edges, go along the very top of the house with the frosting. Use two half crackers to make the long slanted roof pieces and cut or snap the end pieces to fit in triangle shape, don’t worry if they aren’t perfect the frosting hides quite a bit. The frosting that was applied to the top edges of the house will hold your roof on. Now you have the house! From here you can get creative. Using another plastic bag or different tips for your pastry bag, draw windows, doors and any other decoration you can think of for the house itself. I suggest using a new plastic bag because the decorating at this point will more than likely use a smaller hole to get nice detail, not like the wide edging of the house walls. Now stick your candies to the house using your frosting as glue once again. A peppermint makes a cool looking window type thing, pretzel sticks along the outside could be a fence, if your gingerbread house is a mansion columns could be made with pretzel rods, some kind of flat hard candy or halved jelly beans make good stepping stones. The ideas are endless! Using a different frosting color for each child stops quite a bit of squabbling before it has a chance to start, (she’s using too much! he got something gross in there! etc. lol) and also makes them easy to differentiate when they are being shown off.
These little houses are such cute decorations the kids and I are already planning on how we can make other holiday houses. Red white and blue for fourth of July, pastels, bunnies and eggs for Easter, maybe even little bitty ones for birthday parties and such. The other bonus being that most of the gingerbread houses I’ve ever gotten tasted awful, some I wasn’t even sure were edible! These little houses are delicious!