How to create your perfect gingerbread house
Fight the post-holiday blues by making a winter wonderland of your own
Published: Monday, January 5, 2009 - 11:21pm
THE WINTER HOLIDAYS might be over, but there are all sorts of ways you can keep the festive spirit alive. In need of some fun without having to venture out into the harsh and icy winds of central Illinois, we recently opted for an activity that neither of us had done in years — the construction of a gingerbread house, a delightful way to fight the doldrums of January and February.
Step 1: Making a list
After donning our big pile of winter gear and scraping the dense layer of ice that had accumulated on the car parked outside, we were at last ready to being our gingerbread house dream.
We had made a list of the materials that would be needed to recreate our childhood and were thus prepared for the trip to the grocery store.
We had decided to use graham crackers instead of gingerbread to save as much time as we could. We were not prepared for the long search that resulted in pursuit of these crackers of graham. After searching long and hard through two long aisles, we at last found the big yellow boxes and immediately picked the Tollhouse brand.
Step 2: The materials
We next found ourselves in the candy aisle.
The range of sweets was vast, and we once again found ourselves overwhelmed and lost.
After lots of strategic debates on the attractiveness of each candy, we at last settled on an assortment or Twizzlers, Creme Savers, M&M's, gum drops, marshmallows, swirl Hershey's kisses, sprinkles, and Sour Patch Kids.
We were finally set to go after picking out two containers of frosting that would serve as a glue while also making the house look like it was in a winter wonderland.
Don't skimp when buying the frosting — better to have plenty left over than to run short. As we can attest, frosting is the key to giving that wintry feel to your house and its environs.
Step 3: The foundation
Upon returning home we picked a workspace near a sink and put all our candy in separated bowels for easy access.
We took out a cookie sheet and put some aluminum foil over it for the foundation of our house.
Experimentation then began. Unsure of how to most effectively connect the crackers we went through many of them before we came up with the design that we chose to continue with.
We chose a small size to ensure a sturdier building.
Our base consisted of four two-cracker-thick walls, all connected with the frosting. Frosting also covered the outside of all four walls so that we could later decorate them with candy.
Step 4: The roof
Building the roof. (click to enlarge)
Because of the small size, our planned house had transformed into a cottage, and we could not have as much variation with the design of our roof. We laid two crackers down on top of our walls to create a platform for our roof to rest on.
After the platform was covered with frosting, two crackers covered with frosting were then slanted against each other. We repeated this step once so that the whole cottage would have a roof.
Believe it or not, our design at this point had one major flaw. A huge triangular space existed at each end of our cottage that could not be covered up with crackers.
Instead of deliberating on how to fix this problem we hastily put numerous Sour Patch Kids on top of the frosting. Our cottage was thus made infinitely cooler with the dance party the Sour Patch Kids were now participating in.
With the construction part over, we were ready to decorate.
We began by frosting everything. And we mean everything. All the walls, the roof, and the entire sheet of aluminum foil. Now our gingerbread getaway lodge was lying in the middle of a snowy field, and we also had a sticky surface to create our landscape.
Step 5: Go crazy
To begin, we lined the roof of the house with M&M's. Each panel (cracker) had its own surrounding border, with a Creme Saver displayed in the middle.
Then we added a Twizzler lining. Quite a nice siding effect, really. To top off the house we alternated placing Creme Savers and M&M's along the outside walls of the house.
Next step: the fencing. We created a border around the gingerbread lot by alternating swirl Hershey's kisses and marshmallows. Next we built two paths leading from outside the fence to the house, using Twizzlers to mark the path boundaries.
We placed gum drops along the inside of the Twizzlers on both sides and speckled the inside of the path with red sprinkles.
Finally, to top it all off we scattered M&M's all over the yard of our gingerbread house, and behold! Our completed gingerbread house stood proud!
Words of Wisdom
We had no vision for our house when we set out on our gingerbread adventure. We just made it up as it came to us, and had a great time winging it.
It doesn’t matter what you use or where you place it, just have fun with it!
Use whatever materials you want and use them in whatever way calls you. The character of your gingerbread house will surely shine through.