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need advice on making gingerbread houses...

  • m
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We are having a holiday party this weekend, and were thinking it would be nostalgic and fun to set people up (in teams, no less - we can get pretty competitive!!) with ingredients for gingerbread house making.

We don't have time to make real gingerbread - will graham crackers work for the walls and roof? And then what to use for icing? I know it's basically just sugar and water so I am not averse to making it myself if there is a good recipe that will give us a nice, stiff "glue." Otherwise, could we use the stuff that comes in a tub (I'm thinking Duncan Hines - it's pretty thick isn't it?) But I don't know if that will harden sufficiently to hold the houses together.

Any other suggestions would be great - we're going to get all sorts of fun candies (spearmint trees, maybe swedish fish for the surrealists in the crowd)...

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  1. we've used the prepared frosting for icebreaker activities at the office and it works ok. I'm assuming you don't expect these to last a long time?

    1. I fear that the graham crackers may not be sturdy enough. I would probably suggest coating them in a simple sugar syrup and allowing them to dry so they have a harder, sturdier exterior. Someone else may have a more effective method for "strengthening" the crackers, but that's my suggestion.

      1. Gingerbread will work just fine.

        The classic icing for architecture is royal icing, which has egg white in it. You can use the dehydrated egg white if you like. But the canned or tube frostings will work fine, as well. They just won't set up as hard or as fast.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dorothy

          Did you mean graham crackers will work fine? not sure I have time to make gingerbread... actually, quite sure I won't have time, and not sure I'll have time to "fortify" the graham crackers as Emme suggested...though good suggestions as always.

          And no, the houses do not need to last at all, just to provide a fun exercise in creativity and silliness... maybe some spiked punch and/or eggnog will remove the need for the houses to actually amount to anything!

        2. If you don't have time to make gingerbread cookie parts, you can use the ones you find in gingerbread house kits--then just make up your own designs. You might be able to find kits in your grocery store.

          1. I've used graham crackers for years...it is easier. No breakage! And we disclose that these are not "gingerbread houses," but "candy houses."

            If you can get to a housewares dept, there are usually little 8 inch cake plates, scalloped edges, and pre-decorated with a design of some sort. The houses fit on these very well.

            I use the traditional "royal jelly" for glue, and it works as well with the grahams as it does with gingerbread.

            1. Graham crackers will work. My mother started doing hers that way a few years back. She makes Royal Icing. Personally I'd do a test run with any store bought icing - I imagine it has something in it to *prevent* it becoming dry & hard. In fact I seem to remember that the first time my Mother made a gingerbread house she bought prepared icing and it didn't work out. But that was 20 years ago or so...