Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Art Tuesday - Graham Cracker Houses

Gingerbread and/or graham cracker houses are a must-do holiday tradition for us.  We usually buy a gingerbread house kit somewhere and make it, but I think the little graham cracker ones are more fun.
Among other reasons, they're fun because it's a chance to buy fun, colorful candy you would never buy for any other reason.  For once, it's about looks, not taste.  Threw in a little fine motor work, having the kids cut Twizzlers to size as needed.
Ginger was dying with anticipation as we waited for our friends to arrive.  We happened to have some frosting left over from our Wilton gingerbread house kit, so I didn't have to make any for this activity, but if you want to make these, be aware you can't use regular canned or homemade buttercream frosting.  You need something with meringue powder/powdered egg whites to make it like glue.  You can get meringue powder at Michael's in the cake section, or powdered whites in the baking aisle at the grocery store.  When I make it from scratch, I use this recipe
I made the houses the day before so they would be nice and dry and sturdy for decorating.  A tip on making graham cracker triangles for the front & back of the roof - if you try to cut them out of the package, they will crack.  Lay crackers in a single layer, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave for about 10 seconds.  This gets the crackers just a little soft.  Cut crackers diagonally with a serrated or very sharp knife to make triangles.  Allow to cool and dry out before using for houses. 
Since completing the project, the girls have been using their houses as additions to our Little People nativity set; the characters travel between the stable and the houses.  Which reminds me of Mortimer's Christmas Manger - you gotta read it if you love nativity sets and/or gingerbread houses. 

And strangely, some of the candy has been mysteriously disappearing from day to day.  I wonder where it's gone...

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