How to Make a Graham Cracker “Gingerbread” House

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

It’s the time of year when I get the most excited about crafting and decorating—especially creating memorable centerpieces for my holiday table. This year I have my heart set on making gingerbread houses from graham crackers.

My plan is to make a village of miniature houses for Christmas Eve dinner. They’ll be used as party favors and place cards, by setting each house on a circle of cardstock with the name of the guest written on the circle. I’ll frost upside-down ice cream cones to use as trees, to intersperse between houses. That’s the plan, at least….

These simple, one-story cottages seemed easy enough to make, but they turned out to be more time-consuming and challenging than I had expected.

So is this a suitable Special Fork “recipe”? Well, yes and no. It will probably take an hour or so to construct a house, which is twice the Special Fork prep time parameters, but on the other hand, it’s a lot simpler than the alternative—baking gingerbread from scratch and cutting out shapes.

With graham crackers, it’s an assembly-only project, except for a few extra minutes required to make the royal icing. You can skip that step by buying readymade icing sold in tubes, from the supermarket baking aisle.

So I say, let the construction begin!

Graham Cracker House
Heavy paper cut to the size of a graham cracker square (for pattern)
5 graham cracker squares
1 recipe royal icing (see below) or one tube of purchased icing (white)
Pastry bag with small tip for homemade icing OR heavy-duty sandwich bag (see note below)
Assorted colorful candies and sprinkles

This house needs four walls: two are made with whole cracker squares, each one cut into a point at the top, for the eaves. Two are made with half-size crackers for the sides of the house. The roof is made with two whole cracker squares that will rest on the eaves.

  1. First, make a pattern for the walls with eaves. Fold paper square in half, vertically. Bend the two upper corners of the paper to the vertical line to create a triangular top. (See photo)Graham Cracker House 2.
  2. Using the pattern, trim the top two corners of two graham cracker squares using a sharp knife. Now you have two walls with eaves. This will be for the front and back of the house.
  3. Take one square and cut it in half. These will form the side walls of the house.
  4. Assemble the house by attaching the two side walls to one of the squares with eaves, at right angles, using icing on the edges as glue. Hold together with your fingers until the icing firms up enough so the walls stand up without assistance. Be patient—waiting is the most frustrating part. If the walls collapse on you, add more icing and reattach, holding the two walls up until icing firms up.
  5. Then attach the other wall with eaves, using more icing as the glue. Hold together with your fingers until icing seems to have firmed up, then set the house down so the house is standing up with the base of all four walls touching the work surface (like a normal house) and set it aside to dry completely. Now you have the foundation of the house.
  6. To make the roof, pipe icing along the edges of the eaves and the top of the side walls. Carefully balance one cracker square on one side of the house, sitting it along the eaves, then balance the second cracker square on the other side of the house, along the other half of the eaves, creating a peaked roof. Pipe some icing where the two crackers join at the top of the eaves. Hold together with your fingers just until icing seems to have firmed up, then set it aside to dry completely.
  7. When icing is dry, add decorations, holding each in place with a dab of icing.
Makes 1 house.

Tips:

  • If you don’t have a pastry bag and icing tip, you can put your icing in a plastic baggie, and make a tiny snip one corner; squeeze out icing through the snipped hole.
  • To cut graham crackers, use a sharp knife and start with the light, sawing motion, then press down with the knife to make the cut.
  • Pipe extra icing to hide any mismatched places where the walls are joined imperfectly.
  • To make icicles along the roof, pipe icing at the edge of the roof and use a bamboo skewer to pull the icing down over the roof in jagged points.
  • A miniature marshmallow makes a perfect little chimney.
  • In addition to candies, you can use cookie decorating sprinkles.
  • A bamboo skewer helps to hold small decorations in place, instead of fingers, until the icing has set.

Royal Icing
1 tablespoon meringue powder
2 tablespoons water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar

In a medium bowl add meringue powder and water; beat with electric beater until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined thoroughly. Makes enough icing for about 6 graham cracker houses.

Note: Meringue powder is a dried egg white product. You can find it where cake decorating supplies are sold.

More Christmas decorations:

Special Fork will be on winter hiatus after this week, returning Monday, January 11.

Dave and I wish you a happy—and safe—holiday season! See you in the New Year.

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Posted: Dec 13th by Sandy_Hu