Sunday, November 25, 2012

{ Gingerbread House Tips & Tricks }




 Traditionally, we make Gingerbread Houses. I've done the lot of things. You know, the expensive kits, building one on a box, and then, what I've done for years, the graham cracker house.

Now, I do realize that the graham cracker houses can be quite the pain, but I have some tips for you.

First and foremost, ditch the Royal Icing. White Chocolate is where it's at.
(I use 'Almond Bark', but candy melts will work as well)

It dries MUCH quicker than Royal Icing & it is just as sturdy.

I made 2 large houses and 1 tiny house with 2 boxes of graham crackers (there are 4 in the picture below, but the skinny 2-story was from some leftovers I had in my cabinet). You may be able to get more, but some I broke, and some were broken in the package). The grahams were the el cheapos at Walmart and cost me $1.29 a box. I also used about one full package of Almond Bark (white melting chocolate), which costs around $3.50. The kits make one house and will run you at least $10. 

Savings, Huzzah!

You can do these an an assortment of sizes, but the step by step I'm showing you is what I made this year. I dug up some old photos to show you other sizes.

2009

2010
 
First, I roll out a bunch of parchment paper/wax paper/foil because once the chocolate dries you have to pry it up with a jackhammer. And that's not cool.


The big houses are 3 sheets long and 2 sheets wide. Lay them out. You'll need 4 sets of 3 (2 for the sides, 2 for the roof) and 2 of the 2 sheets for the width of the house.


Then, glue 'em together. Be generous with the chocolate. Spread it on there. No need to be neat, these will go on the inside.

Allow to dry. You can also make these on baking sheets and pop them into your freezer if you are in a real hurry.


Once they are dry, add line of chocolate to the edges of the sheets of 3. Lean these up to one of your sheets of 2. You have to use really fancy equipment here. Aka, what ever you've got. When these are just set, stand them up, add chocolate to the other ends, and carefully slide your other sheet of 2 in. Allow to fully dry.

For the roof, add chocolate to the top edges of your structure. These should easily lean in on each other without falling. Add extra chocolate to the bottom edge of the roof on the outside to secure. Allow to fully dry.

The hardest part of making the house is definitely covering the peak. What I do is hold a cracker up and score it with a knife so I know where to cut. I make mine using 2 pieces. 


You can see here where the peak is put together. 

This is just 'glued' on the outside. It is not flush with the rest of the roof.

After I've made the first one (and, um before I've added it to the house), I draw out a template on paper to make this step easier for the rest of the houses I'm making.


You can accent with windows and a door if you like.

Tip: do NOT try to just cut the crackers, they will very often break. Use a sawing motion to cut them.

They will still break sometimes, but not nearly as often.

I also make a couple small houses.


These are actually MUCH easier to make. Make a box out of a square (2 sections of a cracker). 

Use 2 squares for the roof as well. The peak for these is super easy. It's just the square cracker turned diamond direction and cut directly in half. These I glue (chocolate) in before adding to the house.



They, unlike the big house peaks, sit inside of the roof.

Now, just glue the roof on, accent, and done!


All ready for decorations!

Just melt up more white chocolate & let them go to town!


Niecey decorating. Why do teenagers write on each other? Please tell me.
Last night the Bean was written on by his cousin and his girlfriend.  He was written on today at church by a friend. He also wrote on all of them...??

Does not compute.


Some of the candies/decorations I used were:

Bottle Caps (the candy), Smarties, Mike & Ike, Gummy Bears, Candy Canes, Snocaps, Gum Drops, Marshmallows, Twizzlers, Sixlets, and cookies. Other things I've used in the past: M&Ms, Mini Oreos, Peppermint Sticks, Candy Corn, Gumballs, & much more!

I bought cheap packages of candy (like the $1 'movie theater' type boxes), and raided my cabinets.
Use your imagination, lots of things would work!



Houses done!

Mine, Bean's, Niecey's, The Girlfriend's.

Well, almost done. The Bean and I went back today and added more to his. It's easier to decorate when not distracted by  your girlfriend and cousin, and writing on each other.

This is the final, final product of his house (along with mine)


We know these aren't going to win any contests, but we enjoy making them each year!

I hope these little tips help you out. Making Gingerbread Houses is so much fun, and it really isn't that hard. Royal Icing is SO overrated. Go chocolate.

Do it.

Happy Christmas!

Tina

5 comments:

  1. Wow!!excellent!! Very nice gingerbread house...

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  2. I've been looking for an easy gingerbread house to make; these look great! Also, I think teens write on themselves for a few reasons, based on when I was a teen and my friends and I would write on each other. One, we wanted but could not get tattoos. Two, it was "cool" among the the "uncool" crowd, we were geeks, goths, shy, what have you, and it was quirky and strange, so we did it. Just a thought, we never analyzed why we did it, we just did lol.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! These are great. Nothing makes a more impressive centerpiece during the holidays than a homemade gingerbread house! Good job! :)

    ReplyDelete

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