Cooking and Food Family Ties

Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses

Yesterday the girls and I spent from 8:30 AM-5:30 PM making graham cracker gingerbread houses. We do this each year with homeschooling friends…one of our favorite Christmas traditions! This is […]

generalstoreYesterday the girls and I spent from 8:30 AM-5:30 PM making graham cracker gingerbread houses. We do this each year with homeschooling friends…one of our favorite Christmas traditions!

This is a craft that can be as detailed and intricate as you want it to be. Using graham crackers instead of gingerbread takes a lot of the headache out of the process, making it very “mom” friendly!

northpolebiblechurchOver the years I’ve made these fun little houses in many sizes and themes. If you want a fun and easy version go here or here. For this version, you can use as few as 3 full graham crackers per child. Here’s another cute site with several to look at.

For a more impressive version, you’d have to get Traditional Christmas Cooking, Crafts & Gifts by Cy DeCosse. There’s a several page spread in there with diagrams to help you make a fancy town…

We start by combining our efforts with another family or two. We decide which candies each family will buy, and then we pool all of them together for the maximum effect!

Here are some of our favorites:

  • miniature candy canes (for stair rails up into churches or for “props” to hold up a 1/4 graham cracker door overhang)
  • normal sized candy canes (these are cute stuck in snow icing with a gumdrop stuck to the curved end–ta-da: a lamp-post!)
  • wafer cookies–the rectangular kind (we make benches out of them–to put under the lamp-posts. Use sugar cubes for the bench “feet”. You can also use wafers to make shutters for your windows, or to line the roof of store-front type buildings such as the General Store in the the book I linked above)
  • Gumdrops (flattened and cut to fit, these make great window panes. Cut them in different shapes/sizes and make stained glass windows for your town’s church)
  • Sugar cones (steeple for the church, or frost with green icing and decorate for Christmas trees)
  • Red and Green M&M’s
  • Red hot cinnamon candies
  • Peppermint hard candies (great stepping stones to your bench)
  • Hershey Kisses
  • Cereals: Grape nuts for gravel pathways, Shredded Wheat for hay bales, Chex for shutters
  • Pretzels–straight ones for porch railings, miniature rounded ones for fences around the yard, simply stick them in snow frosting
  • Marshmallows–use toothpicks to make snowmen out of these, or cut them into small pieces and pile in the yard for snowballs
  • Red and Green sugar, or candy sprinkles to shake on snowy rooftops

You get the idea…

MsgingerbreadhouseEach family also needs to bring cardboard bases to be covered with tin foil. We like to use Cinnamon Graham Crackers because the darker cracker looks more authentic for buildings. Plan on one box per house, if you’re tackling a large one.

For icing, you can buy meringue powder at any cake decorating store or in that section at Wal-Mart and follow the instructions inside for Royal Icing. Or, an easier and quicker way, is to use white Almond Bark. Melt it in the microwave and pipe it, or spread it with a knife to “caulk” your house seams together.

Yesterday we made the house w/yard, the church and the general store pictured above. On Saturday we’ll be taking them to our local rest home for their visual enjoyment!

And yes, I’ll try to find a pic of last years to post here sometime soon!

4 replies on “Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses”

Oh wow…thanks for infusing me with new and fresh ideas for this…this has been our tradition since we had the twins (7 years ago!) but I’m afraid I’ve lost my creative touch the last couple of years! Great, great add ons you have here. And WHOA..all these years of struggling to “glue” this together with icing..of COURSE almond bark will work perfectly!

Yay! Glad I could share the fun…and yes, this was our first year using almond bark and I couldn’t BELIEVE how much easier the whole process was. It dries so quickly. Just melt half a block at a time at 50% power in your microwave for 2-3 minutes and stir. You’ll have to reheat it as you go, it hardens in the bowl. If you use it in baggies, you’d have to keep your bags in warm water when not in use.

Another tip, if you use cut up and flattened gum drops for stained glass windows, assemble your window with the melted chocolate and let it dry before you stand it up into your house. It’s much harder to try to fill the holes in after the house is put together. I did all the “gluing” on wax paper. It peels easily off the dried chocolate.

The girls and I rang bells for Salvation Army this morning and got to show the houses (they were in my car) to a couple of 4H moms that were there also. We decided to make the smaller versions for an Arts/crafts meeting in February. I’ve always wanted to make little Valentine cottages…all that red and pink candy would be so pretty on white frosting!

After bell ringing, we took the “village” to the rest home and the staff were delighted! I took several pictures, so hopefully I can get them developed SOON, and put some pics on here.

You and another blog I read both made gingie houses–I was thinking about this anyway, so you totally motivated me to get going: I’m going to have a house raising party! Thanks for the ideas & tips–lets see the pics already! Ya gotta get a digital camera for Christmas. I’m so impatient, I upload pics like, every day. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *