This article was first shared in April 2011.
We had more than our fair share of Easter sweets this weekend, but I had a plan all along to purge our house of all that extra sugar by “gluing” it to some sort of base, like a paper plate, and calling it art.
As I talked to my almost three-year old about the idea, we mused over what we could glue our candy to. Something bigger than a cracker. Something flat. Something hard. Something we already had in our pantry.
And then it occurred to us — Matzo!
The irony of mixing Easter jellybeans with Passover matzo isn’t lost on me. As I laughed about this with my husband, we also realize that this is a fair representation of of our melting pot family. And I’m sure we’re not the only ones these ingredients on hand?!
What I especially love about this project, which looks oh-so-similar to the beloved gingerbread house, is the reminder that we can borrow ideas from other seasons. Here’s another seasonal mash-up from last summer: Easter in August.
How to build a matzo house
N started with some matzo and enjoyed breaking it into smithereens. She’s two, after all. Totally unusable for this project, but super fun.
If you’ve ever broken matzo with the intent of making neat little sandwich, you know that matzo has a mind of its own and can be completely unpredictable.
First, break your matzo…carefully
After accepting my fate that we would use uneven pieces, my husband messed around and came up with this strategy: Place the tip of a knife into the middle of the matzo, on the groove that you want to break…
And then press down.
It’s still a little wobbly, but it worked SO much better than my sad attempt at breaking them by hand.
I since found another strategy that sounds worthwhile: dip your finger in water and run it down the groove you intend to crack. It will soften the matzo just enough so that you can get a clean break.
Then we attached the pieces together with ornamental frosting, which dries hard. Our ornamental frosting was too runny for the job, but I’ll share the recipe below just in case you want it. Instead, I’d recommend the royal icing recipe that we used for our gingerbread houses.
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.
Used in the pictures of this article
- 4 cups powdered sugar (one box)
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 egg whites
Blend it together until smooth. If you’re not using the frosting right away, cover the top of your bowl with a damp towel to keep it moist.
We attached the “wall” pieces to a large matzoh base.
And then added jellybean decorations. That leaning wall is the result of one of my hand-breaking attempts. Sad. Looks like a foundation problem.
I finally conceded to the frosting-coated jellybean eating request. I can be tough!
We thought the white frosting made this was looking way to wintery, and not at all spring-like…
…so we colored our frosting green.
And then there was more…eating! It looked a bit like Roman ruins…
So we added a roof. Voila! Jellybean Matzo House (with icicles) for Spring.
- I had to do a search on Matzo Houses and found this one from Martha Stewart that’s held together with chocolate.
- I found a website called Chrismukkah: The Merry Mish-Mash Holiday. Here’s their very pretty (inedible) version.
- This one looks yummy, covered in chocolate!