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How to Make Gingerbread Houses with Graham Crackers

 

easy graham cracker gingerbread houses

About 20 years ago, on the first Friday of December I unknowingly created a tradition that was to haunt me for the rest of my life. I made houses out of graham crackers, bought candy, and invited the kids’ friends over to decorate the “gingerbread” houses.

Since then I have only missed one party – and that was because of tremendous upheaval in my life. I hosted the 1998 party while in active labor with Sean – giving birth to him at home about 4 hours later. I have hosted parties with 30 children and I have hosted parties where the only ones in attendance were my own kids. Each one has been amazingly fun, but most of all, each has created a special memory for the kids that attended. A lot of those kids are parents now.

And it isn’t just little kids either. My 30 year old still decorates a graham cracker gingerbread house with as much candy as she can get on it when she comes with my grandchildren.

gingerbread house party

It isn’t difficult. It takes a little time to get the technique down and you will end up with a lot of cracker scraps and unusable crackers that you can use for crumb crusts and other things. You might also want to save up. This year my candy bill for 20 houses was close to $200.00. Now every time  I go to the grocery store, the bag boy voted most likely to smoke pot gives me a thumbs up and a knowing smile. Because really, unless you had a severe case of the munchies why else would you buy an entire cartload of candy?

candy

What You’ll Need

  • Honey Maid Graham crackers – this is the only brand that I have found that still makes the rectangular crackers. Squares won’t work.
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Egg whites
  • Paper plates
  • Candy
  • Children of all ages

Cut the Graham Crackers to Shape

graham-cracker-houses
You will need four rectangular graham crackers for each house. One rectangle for each of the ends, one rectangle cut into two squares for the sides, and one rectangle cut into squares for the roof. Cutting the graham crackers can be a bit stressful and the break pretty easily. Be sure you get a couple of extra boxes just in case.

A wood cutting board is the best surface for cutting. Use a sharp knife and cut the top end of each rectangle into a point. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

Once you have two pointed rectangles, set them aside with two rectangles cut in half to make squares.Continue on until you have all of the pieces cut and stacked together.

Make Royal Icing

Royal Icing for Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Bright white, easy to make royal icing that is perfect glue for the graham cracker gingerbread houses.
Serves: 1⅓ cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch of cream of tartar
Instructions
  1. Rinse your mixing bowl with lemon juice or white vinegar.
  2. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until they are foamy.
  3. Add the sugar and lemon juice.
  4. Beat at high speed until thick and fluffy.
  5. You may need to add a little water if it is too stiff or a little sugar if it is too thin. It should have the texture of old fashioned paste.
Notes
For color add a few drops of food color while whipping.

Assemble the Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses

Smear a thick bead of icing down one side of the pointed piece.

graham cracker houses
Gently press a square into it and hold it for a couple of seconds. Smear another bead of icing down the other side. Press a square into place.

gingerbread-houses-6

Spread beads of icing on either side of the other pointed graham cracker. Gently push it on to the open end of the house.

graham-cracker-houses-7
Set aside to let dry while you make the other houses. It works best for them to be stable before adding the roof.

gingerbread-house-2
Smear icing on 3 sides of the square.
Press it on the angles side of the tall graham cracker. Hold for a few seconds.
Repeat with the last square.
Using icing fill in any cracks or weak areas.
Let stand at room temperature overnight.

Decorate

Gingerbreadhouseparty

Set out the candy in pretty dishes, muffin pans, or whatever holds it and makes it easily accessible.

You’ll probably need to make more Royal Icing. Keep it covered with a damp paper towel when not in use so it doesn’t dry out.

Put a glob of “glue ” on each plate.

Show the kids how to add candy to their graham cracker houses using the icing as glue. Caution them to be gentle!

That’s it. Let them decorate to their hearts’ content and be sure to “ooooh” and “ahhhhh” over the results. Try not to coach them but be there to help if needed.

Most of all – take lots of pictures.

Need more inspiration? Here’s a gingerbead house book with lots of ideas! (affiliate link)

All images on this page

© 2012 Marye Audet

Please do not copy.

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12 comments

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  1. Anita

    That gingerbread house party looks amazing! I can’t believe how well set up it was and it must have been great to see everyone’s different houses! I’ll have to do something like that with my kids!

    1. Marye Audet

      It really is fun!

  2. Toni | BoulderLocavore

    These are darling! What a special holiday tradition.

    1. Marye Audet

      :) we have a great time!

  3. Renée J. (RJ Flamingo)

    What a great idea! I think the only thing holding me back from making gingerbread houses, all these years, was having to make the actual gingerbread. Graham crackers? Inspired! And thanks for the icing recipe, too!

    1. Marye Audet

      it’s so much fun!

  4. Renee - Kudos Kitchen

    Reminds me of when my kiddos were little. Every creation is a masterpiece!

  5. Mandee aka The Kitchen Wife

    This would be so much fun to do with all the littles at our family Thanksgiving dinner this year!

  6. Sherri Jo

    Love this! So very much <3

    1. Marye Audet

      :)

  7. Marnie

    we have done these annually for more years than I’m willing to admit. (LOL). It is a family tradition. There is a secret to cutting the graham crackers that makes life so much easier. Place a rack (the kind you put your cookies on to cool) over a skillet of simmering water. Put the crackers on the rack and steam them till they are soft enough to cut. You’ll need to flip them a time or two. Then, cut them with scissors. Yep, good old scissors. We even put chimneys on ours. You still might break one or two, but, with practice, you will be surprised how little breakage there is. The crackers will become hard and crisp again once they cool. Have fun!

    1. Marye Audet

      Yep. I did it the first time in 1992! It’s fun tho!

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