Introduction: Graham Cracker "Gingerbread" House for Kids
When I was a kid, I remember making Graham Cracker "Gingerbread" Houses at a Holiday party. We took half pieces of graham crackers and stuck them to little milk cartons, like the ones you get at school, with regular frosting.
I wanted to try to recreate this (but without a pesky milk carton in the way). You can use whatever frosting you want! There is no wrong one to use :)
Step 1: Supplies
You can use pretty much anything you can find, but I will list exactly what I used. I will talk, in the steps, about what I think are good alternatives for what I used.
The main things you need are Graham Crackers and Frosting or Royal Icing. The rest is just decoration.
- Graham Crackers (I used 4 for house, 2 for base)
- "Glue" to stick pieces together (represented by my powdered sugar)
- traditionally people use Royal Icing when making gingerbread houses which is what I'm using here, but when I made these when I was younger, I used Store Bought Cake Frosting which can work pretty well and is easy to use for kids
- Christmas (red and green) M&Ms
- Brown Jimmies: (Sprinkles I used before, pretend that is what the cookie is)
- Christmas Red, Green and Light Green Sprinkles: same as from Christmas Wreath Cookies
- Autumn Leaves Sprinkles: I barely used these, but I bought them cause they were on sale, I'll sure I'll find another use for them
- Twizzlers Pull and Peel
- Mini Marshmallows
- Leftover Green Marshmallow Fondant
- Square Chocolate Pieces
- Powdered Sugar or Coconut Flakes: if you want to dust your house with "snow"
I mostly went with what I already had sitting around my kitchen, but you can really use anything you want to decorate your house. Here are some other suggestions to get you started.
- Gumdrops - these are a pretty classic gingerbread house decoration
- Mini Candy Canes
- Christmas Themed Marshmallows have little trees that can be fun to use
- Chocolate chips/Mini chocolate chips
- Jolly Ranchers: Could look cute crushed and sprinkled on the roof
- Candy Wafers: or other flat candies that can be used as roof tiles
- Mike and Ikes
- Hershey bar pieces
- Andies Mints
- Colored Icing/frosting
- Golden Grahams (or Chex) cereal: great for shingles
Step 2: Building Your House
Time to cut out your house! Take a full graham cracker, a cutting board, and a butter knife (it should have those little saw ridges).
Line up your knife where you want to cut and nice and smoothly just saw the cracker. Don't use a lot of pressure or you will break the cracker along it's score marks. You need to decide how steep you want the roof. If you go from the middle center line to the top center line (like I did) you will have a steep roof. If you go from the middle center line to about half way between the center and the top, you will have a much shallower roof.
Do this for two crackers. Then break two others in the middle and you will be left with 2 full pieces with points and 4 half pieces (photo 3).
Assemble! I used a creamer carton to help hold my pieces up. You don't have to or you can use something else like a cup. Start by frosting the edge of a small piece. As you can see I frosted the edge, but I think you should frost the inside edge (photo 8). If you do and put it together that way (like photo 6, where the side piece is sort of on top of the big triangle top piece) your roof pieces will sit on the top much nicer.
Finish putting your sides on, be careful to give it time to harden a bit. Time for the roof. Hold it so it is the same as the two short sides and frost it like the two short sides. As you can see, my steep roof does not meet. If you want it to, instead of breaking a cracker in half for the roof, you will need to cut the cracker so it is a little longer than half the size. I didn't care and covered the top anyway. You can also add in a sliver of cracker on the top to cover the hole.
Either way, your house is now done. Let it harden so you don't destroy it as you decorate it. This is all you really need, but please read on to get ideas on how to decorate yours!
(I added extra icing at the seams, I didn't want it to fall down, but it isn't necessary.)
Step 3: Get the Basics
I started off with covering the top hole. I decided to line up some M&Ms. Another idea would be to stick together Twizzler pieces and have them cover the top.
Now, you need a way for your little graham cracker men and women to get in and out. So I put in a door using two of my chocolate squares. You could also use other pieces of graham cracker or Hershey pieces. I used a leaf from my leaf sprinkles for the doorknob and outlined the door in icing. Later on you will see that I drew window panes on the windows.
I lined my roof with Twizzlers. I am pretending that it is like those tube lights people sometimes use.
I decorated my roof with "shingles" drawn out with the icing and then highlighted with green and light green sprinkles.
Step 4: Location, Location, Location
Make a pathway. I put down some icing where I wanted my path and put my brown jimmies on it. I considered, first, using cookie crumbs, so that is another idea, or you can use cracker crumbs.
House trim. I thought the bottom of the house needed more, and I wanted to cover the extra icing that was used to stick it to the base. So I cut M&Ms in half. BE VERY CAREFUL if you do it the way I did.
- Take an M&M and a sharp knife.
- Using your dominant hand, set the knife on the M&M where you want to cut it.
- Using your other hand, cover the top of the knife keeping your fingers AWAY from the blade. This hand is to contain the M&M when you cut it, otherwise it flies across the room.
- Push down very quickly and hard with the knife. At least half the time you will get a nice clean cut. Sometimes it breaks into four, sometimes it just makes a mess. I just ate these mistakes and moved on.
Step 5: Lawn Decorations
Does your lawn look a little bare? Fix that here!
Snowman. Take three mini marshmallows, an orange leaf from the fall leaves sprinkles, and 4 brown jimmies. Connect the marshmallows with icing. Attach a jimmy for each eye and the leaf for the nose. Take a toothpick and stab in the sides of the center marshmallow. Stick in the two longest brown jimmies you can find. Stick him on the base with icing. Make sure he doesn't fall over!
Tree. I decided to use my leftover fondant for this. You could use a Bugle covered in green or white icing, a piece of candy corn with icing, or even those triangle pieces of graham cracker you cut off with icing on them. I first took some mini marshmallows and covered them in food coloring. I used icing to attach this to the base as the trunk of the tree. (It was difficult to balance the tree on the stump, so it isn't really necessary.) Take a nice size chunk of fondant and roll it in your hand to make it cylindrical but pointier at one end. Hold it with one hand and smash it into your other palm to make it more like a tree. When you are ready, use icing to attach it to the base and smash down the marshmallow, otherwise it might try to fall over. I decorated my tree but just sticking on some red circle sprinkles and put a yellow leaf sprinkle on top.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Now just add anything else you might want. I thought the front of the house was a little bare so I added in a circular attic window. Then, at the suggestion of my husband, just iced on some icicles coming off the roof.
If you want, dust it with powdered sugar (or coconut, I don't like coconut) and you are done!