Aside from making a graham cracker gingerbread house with my 2-year old last year, this was new territory for me. And I wasn’t prepared for how much trouble I would have with it. After a few tears were shed and lessons learned, I thought I’d share my experience and a host of others so that you won’t have to go through the growing pains I went through.
I’m also going to share six more ways to get your gingerbread house on (including that graham cracker house).
To make our house, we started with a Wilton Gingerbread House Mold that I picked up last year. Isn’t this a great idea? We made a batch of gingerbread with the recipe from the Trader Joe’s gingerbread baking mix. So easy. My kids enjoyed pressing it into the mold and my 3 year old helped pop the cookies out once they cooled. So far, so good!
And then we went candy shopping! Mmmm. This may have been the funnest part. Since this was mostly new to me, I asked my Facebook friends for recommendations and they had the BEST ideas (clearly, my fans are professionals).
Are you ready for this?
Candy for Gingerbread House Decorating:
- mini candy canes
- rainbow nerds
- dried fruits and nuts
- life savers
- ribbon candy,
- colored frosting
- gingerbread men/trees to add to scene
- pretzels for a fence
- sweet tarts and those candy necklace candies
- Christmas Captain Crunch with tree shapes
- star shaped cookies from Trader Joe’s
- cut out fruit strips into shapes
- gingerbread shaped marshmallows
- tootsie roll for a chimney, Pretzel squares for windows
- crystal like sprinkles for a special touch of snow
- sifted powdered sugar and cotton candy to look like snow
- red hots and mint
- swirled red and white mints.
I made a batch of royal icing, the same way I made it for our gingerbread cookies, but I added a bit more powdered sugar to thicken it. Traditionally, royal icing is made with egg whites, but because I knew my kids would lick their fingers I opted to go with this meringue powder version instead.
RECIPE FOR ROYAL ICING
- 1/8 cup Meringue Powder
- 1/4 cup Cold Water
- 2 cups sifted Confectioners Sugar
Add water to meringue powder and beat until soft peaks form. Add sugar into the mixture and beat until it’s the desired consistency. Add more sugar for stiffer icing.
Because I was running short on frosting, I added it to all the houses for the kids, but you could also put tubs or bags of frosting out for the children to paint on themselves. Oh, and we ran out of graham crackers, which is why some of the houses have this funky shape. Sigh. Maybe next year I’ll be more prepared!
Thankfully, our friends didn’t let on if they minded. Sweet kids.
Six More Gingerbread House Ideas…
Graham Cracker House on a Milk Carton
This is the recipe my friend made for our toddler play date last year, and it was perfect for little ones. I know my friend had a hard time collecting milk cartons for all the children in our group, but once you gather the milk cartons, they’re easy to assemble. From Martha Stewart.
Gingerbread House from Scratch
Mama Smiles shows us how she made her house with a toddler (no small feat!) from scratch!
Gingerbread House from Graham Crackers
Caked Alaska shows us how to make a beautiful graham cracker house (unlike my ramshackle shanty town houses).
Tiny Gingerbread House Perched on the Rim of a Mug
Gingerbread House from a Kit
Or, take the easier route with a store-bought kit. A Spoonful of Sugar Designs shares their Ikea kit. Lovely.
Not exactly gingerbread, but we made these jelly bean matzo houses earlier this year and I couldn’t resist sharing, just to show that with some icing and candy, you can turn just about anything into a house.
Your turn! What’s your favorite way to make a gingerbread house?