Friday, December 14, 2012

Blueprint for an Easy, Inexpensive Gingerbread House

It's that time of year.... Gingerbread House time.  Until last week, I had never made one before!  My son's class had a gingerbread house making party where the parents got to help.  

And now, I'd like to share my newly acquired knowledge about how to build your own gingerbread house.  Don't get me wrong, if you're looking for Architectural Digest to come knocking after you're done, this isn't the tutorial for you.  But, if you want to have fun with your kids and make a fairly inexpensive, easy gingerbread house, please read on!

The supplies - Yum!  
Don't worry, you won't need anywhere near this much for your house!

Homemade Gingerbread House Made Easy

A one pint carton (could be from milk, half and half, egg beaters, etc.)
-  Tip:  A smooth carton is best.  The ones with the built in plastic spouts make it a little harder.
Frosting (either homemade or store bought)
-  If homemade, see the recipe below.  You'll need egg whites and confectioners' sugar.  Yum!
-  If using prepared frosting, one can of vanilla frosting should more than cover it! 
One box of graham crackers
Various decorations
-  You don't need to break the bank on this... Use what you have around the house; M&Ms, cookies, chocolate chips, pretzel sticks, marshmallows, cereal, raisins, licorice, hard candy, candy canes, lifesavers, tic tacs, shredded coconut, jelly beans, etc.  If you don't have a lot of supplies, the check-out aisle at the grocery store should have plenty of choices.  Get a couple of small bags of candy, and you're good to go!
A sturdy plate, either plastic or otherwise


Step 1:  Spoon frosting into a bowl and cover with a wet paper towel to keep it moist
Step 2:  Turn your (clean & dry) carton over and place a healthy dollop of frosting on the bottom.
Step 3:  Place the (frosting covered) bottom of the carton on the plate and let it dry for about 15 minutes.
Step 4:  Using a spoon or spatula, apply a nice layer of frosting all over your carton.  Make sure to get the sides and the angled tops.
Step 5:  Affix the graham crackers onto the sides and top.  Break them into pieces along the joints to make them fit nicely.
Step 6:  Slather frosting all along the open creases where no graham cracker is present.
Step 7:  Put decorations all along the creases!!!
Get creative - Flaked coconut can be snow on the bottom of the plate (with frosting glue, of course!), Marshmallows can be snowmen, Lifesavers can be windows.  And, if some of the decorations accidentally get eaten before they make it onto the house, that's okay!!!!
Step 8:  Let it set for about 15 minutes.
Step 9:  Admire your work (and don't let the dog eat it!)

To Fancy
From Plain

*Basic Gingerbread House Icing Recipe
  • 2 egg whites
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar
In a large bowl, lightly whisk egg whites.  Gradually beat in approximately confectioners' sugar. The icing should be smooth and stand in firm peaks.