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I’ve been making Honey Maid graham cracker gingerbread houses for my boys every year since my oldest son was two years old (that’s six years for those of you who are counting!), so I’ve had a lot of practice when it comes to making these. Each year we get together with our friends and classmates to decorate gingerbread houses, and it has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. Holiday baking and decorating is always more fun when you do it with friends!
What You’ll Need:
- Honey Maid Graham Crackers – 5 per house
- Royal Icing (see recipe below – eggs, confectioners sugar & cream of tartar)
- Paper Plate or Cardboard
- Bread Knife or Serrated Knife
- Disposable Piping Bag
- Assorted Candy, Pretzels, Dried Fruit, Etc. for Decorating
I always allow my boys the creative freedom to decorate their houses however they choose, so we only have ONE rule for making an awesome gingerbread house – always, always, ALWAYS use Honey Maid graham crackers! (Seriously, trust me on this one!) The Honey Maid graham crackers are sturdier, flatter and much easier to cut than any of the other competitors (not to mention they taste a lot better, too!). I found my Honey Maid graham crackers in the cookie/cracker aisle at Walmart, and they also had a large in-store display set up near the bananas, too.
To begin, cut four graham crackers into Shape A by using a bread knife to remove 1/4 of the cracker. Save the smaller excess pieces for snacking (I’ve got a yummy recipe for those below!)! Cut the corners off of two of the crackers (using the center lines as your guides) to create Shape B. You should end up with two Shape A crackers and two Shape B crackers.
Next, whip up a batch of royal icing: You’ll need 3 cups of powdered sugar, 2 eggs whites and 1/4 tsp of Cream of Tartar. Whip the egg whites until frothy, add the other ingredients, and whip for 7-9 minutes until the volume has increased and the icing holds stiff peaks. Put your icing into a disposable piping bag.
To assemble the gingerbread house, start by piping a line of icing along the bottom of Shape C and adhering it to a paper plate or cardboard base. Pipe three lines of icing on Shape B – along the bottom, and just inside both edges. Carefully join Shape B to Shape C while also attaching Shape B to the paper plate at the same time. This will ensure a strong bond and make for a sturdy gingerbread house. I find that the kids can decorate their houses much easier when they can lift up the plates and move the houses around without worrying that they will fall apart or tip over.
Allow the icing to set up for a few minutes before applying the roof. I generally make anywhere from 10-30 of these houses at a time, so I usually assemble all of the bases like this first, and then go back and add the roofs as the final step.
If desired, add another line of icing along the peak of the roof for added strength and stability (plus, it looks pretty cute, too!). Allow the icing to set up for at least 30-60 minutes before decorating. (Note: I usually make our gingerbread houses the night before so that the icing has time to fully harden overnight.)
This year we decorated our graham cracker gingerbread houses with one of our homeschool groups, and the boys had a ton of fun! We met at a local park and set out all kinds of different ingredients for the kids to decorate their pre-assembled houses.
The kids used red licorice, hard candies, gumdrops, gummi bears, butter mints, candy coated chocolates, cinnamon toast cereal, and marshmallow Christmas trees to decorate their houses, and they looked awesome!
My favorite part is this cute little butter mint snowman and his gummi bear slice nose!
Decorating gingerbread houses is a fun holiday tradition, and it’s SO simple to make your own delicious houses with Honey Maid graham crackers (bonus: there’s a printable coupon available right now for you to save $0.50 when you buy one Honey Maid Grahams – 12.2 oz. or larger). How will you be decorating your gingerbread house this year?