Graham cracker gingerbread house

Build a gingerbread tradition with a sweet foundation.

You'll Need

  • 3 Tbsp meringue powder
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 5 Tbsp warm water
  • Variety of candy

By Becca Ross
Kindergarten & First Grade Teacher

Becca is a schoolteacher and blogs at homeiswheremystorybegins.com. She loves to cook, bake, garden, sew, quilt, teach and simply spend time with her family. She strives to find art in everyday things.

A long standing tradition at my house and in my classroom has been Gingerbread Day. As the days inch closer, we set a party date, assign kids candy to bring to the party, and I start pre-assembling mini gingerbread house bases with graham crackers and Royal icing.

Royal icing recipe

I use Wilton’s Royal Icing recipe.

  1. Using the meringue powder, confectioners' sugar, and warm water, beat all ingredients for 7 minutes. 
  2. Spoon icing into quart sized freezer bags and store until the party is ready to start. 
  3. Cut a small corner off of the bags when kids are ready to start assembling their houses. The freezer bag that the frosting was stored in will become a piping bag.

Tip: when hosting a party for 25 kids make 6 double batches of frosting.

Assembling the houses

For younger children, I usually assemble the graham cracker gingerbread house bases ahead of time. The frosting recipe hardens after waiting about 20 minutes. Older children have the patience to wait for the frosting to harden, but pre-assembling for younger children will save lots of tears.

  1. Start with 4 graham cracker squares. Pipe icing along the edges of the 4 squares and press the crackers together so they stand up. Use a bread knife or steak knife to cut 2 additional squares into triangles to support the roof. 
  2. Attach the triangles to the top of two opposing squares. I usually hold these triangles for a minute or two so they don’t tip too far one way or the other. Let these houses sit for at least 30-60 minutes to allow the frosting to completely harden.
  3. Once the party has begun, the kids will be responsible for adding the roof to the house. Have the kids pipe frosting onto the triangle pieces and place the roof pieces on top. Then, the fun of decorating the house is ready to commence! Anything goes here! It’s always amazing to see the kids’ creativity.

Tip: Think about this as “sawing” the graham crackers, rather than cutting them. I usually “saw” or cut the large rectangle for the roof down just enough so that it covers the entire opening. Using half of large graham cracker (just a square) will often be just a bit too small and the roof will cave in with the weight of the frosting and candy.

Setting up the party

To set up the party, we usually send out invitations and ask each child to bring a certain type of candy. In the classroom, I assign each child a different type of candy. Here are a few of my favorite candies for making graham cracker gingerbread houses.

  • Smarties
  • Mini candy canes
  • Pretzel twists
  • Frosted Mini-Wheats
  • M&M’s
  • Striped gum
  • Necco wafers
  • Twizzlers
  • Peppermint swirl candies

As I prepare for the party, I start by lining my dining room table with gift wrap or craft paper. That way all of the mess can be rolled up and thrown away when the party is over. I usually place the variety of candies in many different dishes down the center of the table.

As a tray for each gingerbread house, I cover small squares of cardboard with aluminum foil. To be sure the houses don’t slide off, I ask kids to use their frosting like glue and glue their house to the foil.

At our house, this is the happiest day of the year, next to Christmas! Happy Gingerbread Day!

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