Christmas is getting closer (where did the time go?) and making gingerbread houses is one of my favorite traditions. My mom has molds to make actual gingerbread houses, and even a gingerbread train. She would make the gingerbread a week in advance, allow the gingerbread to dry, and even frosting glue the sides together so all we had to do was decorate.
I was a bit of a slacker this year (I’m still not used to the fact that it’s the middle of December) and didn’t make the actual gingerbread, but I did buy graham crackers and figured we better set out to decorate some houses together this year.
My oldest had a bit of a humbug attitude about it until he saw my husband and me decorating our houses. It was a fun family activity. My youngest just wanted to eat all the candy, I just hope these houses make it through the next couple of weeks intact.
Of course, little baby fingers may have a hard time prying the candy off these houses because I used my favorite frosting recipe for the mortar.
Here’s my tips for creating lasting, fail-proof gingerbread houses.
1. Use this recipe for frosting/mortar (as follows)
2. Use lots of frosting to glue everything together
3. Allow the foundation to set before adding the roof or other decorations
4. Have lots of different shapes, colors, styles of candies available
5. Don’t hinder creativity
- Here’s the frosting recipe:
3 tbsp Wilton Meringue Powder (I used color flow interchangeably)
Buy yours through this link, or at any craft store in the food decorating aisles
1 lb. (4 cups) powdered sugar
6 tbsp warm water
Beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form. If you use a hand mixer, beat on high for about 10 minutes. If you use a stand mixer, beat on medium for about 7 minutes. Keep a damp paper towel or damp, clean, cloth over the bowl when not in use. It really does dry very hard, but it will stay soft enough for you to mold your house for a couple of minutes.
- This one recipe was enough for all four of our houses, and we all used the frosting generously, so don’t be afraid to do the same. Place frosting on all surfaces and then go back and frost inbetween any spaces that you see.
- Make sure you put a lot of frosting on the bottom pieces for the foundation. My husband and I laid graham crackers flat on the surface, with frosting on the back, and then frosted the walls to the flat pieces, just one more level of stability. Let the foundation and walls dry for about 10 minutes before adding the roof or decorations.
- We used mini candy canes, jelly beans, peanut m & ms, colored sugar, dots, starburst candy corn, and pretzels for our decorations. We were going to use sugar cones as Christmas trees, and even had a 5 minute conversation about what type of cones to buy, and my husband forgot to pick them up when he purchased the other supplies.
- We just let everyone have fun with their own creations. There really aren’t any rules for creating the best gingerbread house, so let go of the rules, and just have fun. Once you have the foundation set, using the right frosting, and supplies, any house will be perfect.
Do you stick with the traditional gingerbread? Do you shortcut with graham crackers? Have you seen some of those absolutely amazing gingerbread houses? It’s my goal to make a huge gingerbread house next year, complete with stained glass windows. We’ll see how it goes…
Here are a few other great Christmas Craft/Recipe ideas
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