August 14, 2010

Easy and Frugal Gingerbread Houses

This post, which originally ran on December 23, 2009, would have been perfect for a Christmas in July theme! LOL! Yes, it is August, I know, but it's never too early to start thinking about fun activities for the next looooong school break - Christmas Break

Making a gingerbread house is one of our favorite traditions here because it involves LOTS of candy and because it's just plain fun. ;-)

Here are are a couple of our houses from past years:

My two oldest with our 2008 gingerbread house:



And our 2007 gingerbread house:


and from the back:



Those houses above I made from scratch - I made the gingerbread dough, rolled and baked it as sheets, cut the pieces, let them dry, and constructed the buildings.

This year, peeps, I simply did NOT have that kind of time!

But because this is one of our favorite Christmas traditions, I wanted to find a simpler way that would be cost effective.

And I did - look!



We made these from graham crackers and royal icing (confectioner's sugar + egg whites) in about an hour total, with about thirty minutes of drying time between the construction and the decorating of the houses.

Here they are drying:



And here they are under construction:



My oldest son (6).



My younger son (almost 4).



And my daughter (8), hamming it up for the camera!

To make these, you'll need:

-> Confectioner's sugar
-> Egg whites
-> Graham crackers (the rectangles, not the squares)
-> Foil pans or foil-covered cookie sheets
-> Ziplok bag for piping the icing
-> Candy, candy, candy!!

All of these are fairly low cost items, many that you likely have in your pantry or cabinets right now. My total cost to make all three, including the foil pans and candy, was about $8.00.

I followed the directions listed here - this is an excellent guide if you're new to building gingerbread houses. The author explains it very well and has pictures of all the construction steps.

If you've never tried building a gingerbread house, the graham cracker method is an easy way to start *building* your own Christmas tradition with your kiddos!

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