December 4, 2018
Putting together a gingerbread house for the holidays can be tricky. Just like building a real home, getting one of these sweetly decorated treats perfect is no easy feat! That’s why we’ve gathered expert advice to help you avoid a major gingerbread fail. Follow these gingerbread house hacks and you’ll be building an entire village before Santa makes his first house call!
Hack #1 – Use Graham Crackers
Using graham crackers for the walls and roof makes everything super easy, and you (or the kids) can go crazy with candy embellishments. Not only does this cut down your prep time, the pieces are sturdy, uniform and forgivable! Here’s what you need:
- 6 whole graham crackers
- 1 pound of powdered sugar
- 2 pasteurized egg whites or meringue powder
- ¼ cup water
- LOTS of candy
- One square of cardboard wrapped in foil for the base
- A pastry bag with a round tip or plastic baggie
Happiness is Homemade shows you EXACTLY how to assemble the pieces, marking each with an A, B, C and D – helpful for those of us with zero crafty aptitude. And My Name is Snickerdoodle has a list of recommended candies as well as year-by-year photos to inspire you – complete with icing icicles and enough candy to trigger a pre-holiday sugar coma!
Hack #2 – Use Pretzel Logs
This clever pretzel log cabin starts with a gingerbread kit complete with wall and roof pieces, icing and candy – all ready to assemble. Michaels at Southlands Mall on Central Street in Aurora has both house and village kits starting at $7.
Kristine at Gingerbread Journal recommends using brown royal icing (powdered sugar and egg whites) as the sweet mortar to hold the log cabin walls and windows together, and offers examples of iced pretzel windows and doors.
Hack #3 – Magical Spray Icing
Gingerbread houses are a great holiday craft for kids, but young children may not have the manual dexterity to use a baggie full of icing or a pastry bag.
Blogger Kira at Our Every Day Life suggests using spray frosting that comes with different nozzle tips that little hands and fingers can manage.
Hack #4 – Ice Cream Cone Trees
We love these faux trees from The Cake Blog using ice cream cones, rolled in melted white candy and sprinkled with sugar crystals to replicate snow-covered trees for a sparkling and stunning effect!
Hack #5 – Sweet Caramel Glue
Martha Stewart has a quick tip for getting the walls and roof to zip together faster than with royal icing – caramel syrup. Just put 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar in a pan and enough water to moisten (1-2 tablespoons) and cook it down to a sticky syrup that dries fast and glues cookies and crackers together instantly.
Admittedly, graham cracker houses are not true gingerbread houses, so if you love the smell of gingerbread baking in your kitchen, or are a purist and a dedicated crafter, visit Better Homes and Gardens or Pick Your Own Christmas Tree for a step-by-step (with pictures) tutorial using the real dough (with free templates!).
Gingerbread houses never go out of style – it’s one of those holiday favorites kept around for years to conjure up memories of Christmases past! You might want to try a 2018 spin on this holiday perennial, like the Confetti Cake House from Better Homes and Gardens, or sift through the winning designs from the 25th National Gingerbread House Competition for more inspiration!
Holiday Baking in Southshore!
We know the home chefs in the master-planned community of Southshore, and they are busy getting their holiday masterpieces together! Tour a couple of real houses – one of the gorgeous models from Toll Brothers, Richmond American Homes or Century Communities in ranch and two-story designs. You’ll find the lakeside home of your dreams, priced between the upper $300s and the $700s.