Christmas Recipes: Gingerbread House
Build a gingerbread house the nasty witch in the woods would be proud of!
- Single serving milk or juice cartons:Clean and empty
- White icing:Buy it at the grocery store or make it. See our easy recipe in the Do Note below.
- Graham cracker squares
- Embellishments:Gum drops, jelly beans, Red Hots, licorice, Skittles, raisins, sprinkles, M&Ms, etc.
- Bowls:For all the candy
- Paper towels:To keep everything spic and span!
- Paper plates or cardboard:A "yard" in which to place the gingerbread house. You can use the back of a cereal box.
- Pastry bag (optional)
- Go shopping with your kid for your her favorite thing—candy! Pick up gum drops, candy canes, licorice, Red Hots, Skittles... anything that your kid thinks will look nice on her gingerbread house.
- When you get home, lay down some paper towels to protect your table from goopy icing mess. That stuff dries like cement (which is why you're using it as such!).
- Have your kid pour the candy into small bowls and set them on the table.
- Get your kid to chug the milk (you know, for that extra dose of calcium) and then rinse the daylights out of the milk carton. You don't want any milk left in there.
- If you are making your frosting, prepare it, now. (Spoon licking is encouraged.)
- Have your kid begin building her house by smearing icing on one side of a graham cracker square...
- ...and then firmly pressing it onto the side of the milk carton. She may have to hold it there for 30 seconds or so to make sure it holds.
- Have her repeat steps six and seven until her milk carton is entirely paneled in graham crackers. (If only your home improvements were that easy!)
- Fill any exposed areas where you can see the milk carton poking through with icing. You may want to help your kid by using a pastry bag to apply the icing in a tidy line to these more visible areas.
- Once the house is built, the fun begins! Have your kid apply the candy using the icing as glue. Help her make doors (using candy canes as door frames) and windows (outline them in Red Hots.) Let her imagination go berserk. If her house looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss story, so much the better!
- She can coat the "yard" (a.k.a., paper plate or cardboard) in icing to create a snowy wonderland. She might want to add gumdrop shrubs and a path made out of Skittles.
- Once all of the candy is set, let the icing dry.
- Let your kid eat her house when it's completed or put it on display as a visual feast. This is one of our all-time fave Christmas recipes!
- Icing Recipe:
5 tablespoons meringue powder (Find it with the cake decorating supplies at your craft store.)
1/3 cup water
1 pound confectioner's sugar (about 3 ¾ to 4 cups)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Beat for 5-7 minutes with an electric beater until the contents are stiff and fluffy. If it's too thick or begins to harden, add a little warm water at construction time.
- Need inspiration? Check out these awesome, award winning gingerbread houses from the National Gingerbread House Competition. They weren't made out of graham crackers, but it's something to aspire to!
- Mix it up! Make a haunted gingerbread house for Halloween using orange and black candy and tons of candy corn! You can even make cobwebs out of cotton candy.
- Want a real gingerbread challenge? Nick Jr. has instructions for a more complicated Gingerbread House and a Gingerbread Recipe.