Gingerbread houses have always been my holiday nemesis. They’re SO stressful to put together with impatient little ones waiting to decorate them, the kits are expensive when you need multiples, and there’s no way I have time to bake my own pieces in a special pan.
For the past couple of years, though, I’ve been wanting to try graham cracker houses, and I have to say that these really are a lot of fun.
I actually put the houses together ahead of time so that they would be nice and sturdy by the time the girls were ready to decorate them, and it worked perfectly. With an assortment of candy and some homemade royal icing, the girls went to work decorating their houses, and this year there were no collapsing buildings or tears of frustration.
- plain graham crackers
- royal icing, divided into decorator bags
- assorted candy
Each house needs 4 graham cracker squares (or 2 whole graham crackers broken in half) and 2 whole rectangles.
Using a knife, carefully cut the roof line into one of the whole graham crackers. I found that the easiest way to do this is to lay your knife at an angle from the corner to the center line and gently begin sawing. Once that piece is broken off, rotate your knife to cut the other side at the same angle.
Lay this graham cracker shape on top of the other whole graham cracker and cut the roofline at the same angle.
To assemble, add a line of royal icing to the corner between two of the graham cracker sides. “Glue” in place and set on wax paper to harden. Repeat with two other sides to form two separate halves of the house. Add icing to the open edges and slide the two halves together. Press firmly but gently and let sit until hardened.
To add the roof, add glue along the top of the roofline on both ends and lay a graham cracker square on top. Repeat on the other side and add a thick bead of icing at the top roof seam to hold the pieces together.
Once the icing is dry, these are very sturdy, so little ones can be involved in the decorating without worrying about them falling apart.
Note: If your icing is too runny and not holding its shape well, add powdered sugar a little bit at a time to thicken it up.
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