Graham crackers make a great mini-"gingerbread house"
If you have a box of graham crackers, icing ingredients and candy, you can have a whole group of kids make their own little holiday houses. If you are doing this activity with young children, you will probably want to assemble the houses ahead of time with the royal icing.
You will need:
Royal Icing (mix or see recipe from allrecipes here)
Quart size freezer bags or pastry bags
Assorted candies like candy canes, m&ms, gum drops, holiday round mints, etc.
Sturdy paper plates
Food coloring if desired
Step 1: Use 2 full 4-segment graham crackers for the long sides of the house. Use a 1/2 of a 4 segment full graham cracker for each end. Cut a small corner of the freezer bag and fill with a cup of royal icing. Squeeze the icing out of the hole and put a ribbon or royal icing on the bottom and sided of one long piece and adhere to the paper plate. Put a ribbon of royal icing on the bottom of a square end piece and adhere to the plate and the long side. Do the same with the remaining to pieces to form the house structure. Let dry before you move onto step 2.
Step 2: Using a serrated knife, carefully cut 1/2 of a full 4 segment cracker at angles to form a triangle. Repeat with another 1/2 graham cracker. Put a ribbon of royal icing on the un-cut edge of each triangle and adhere to top or the narrower house walls. Let dry.
Step 3: Place a ribbon of icing on the top edges all for sides of the house (this includes the cut triangle edges). Use one full 4 segment graham cracker for each side of the roof. Squeeze a ribbon of icing on one long end of each roof piece. Adhere the roof pieces to the house with the iced ends of the roof pieces joined together at the top. Press gently so that the roof will bond with the newly iced edges of the house side and angle pieces. Hold the roof pieces in place for a few minutes while they dry.
Note: If you Google "graham cracker gingerbread houses" you will find all sorts of similar directions, some even with video. If you really want to get elaborate check out this video. I did not include directions for the chimney to keep it simple. If you want to play around with cutting the graham crackers into a chimney, that adds a cute dimension to the house. You could put some cotton fiberfill in the chimney for smoke too.
Step 4: Once the houses are completely dry give the kids a bag of icing and some candy and let them create their masterpiece. If you would like to color the icing you could mix a few drops of food coloring into the icing.
If you do this...e-mail me ( firstname.lastname@example.org) your picture and we'll have a contest!!
With enough practice..you can do this!! this is the Follansbee 2010 gingerbread house!
here are some of our tips...
if you bake your own gingerbread, roll it out thinly..a thick house will absorb moisture and get soggy and heavy. (If you'd like our secret recipe...comment below and I'll get it to you!)
decorate each piece and THEN assemble. The candy stays on better when it has a chance to dry flat before it is erected. You can always add more once it is up.
choose candy you like to eat...the goal is that it SHOULD be enjoyed!
use cereal, sugar cubes...anything to make it interesting...look at the walkway..they are CHOCOLATE ROCKS!!!
Have fun and laugh!! Royal icing fixes a multitude of mistakes!