On the Third Day of Christmas: Gingerbread Houses, Graham Cracker Nativity, and Candy Trains

My kids love it when we pull out all the sweets for them to create their own holiday creations such as the classic gingerbread houses. The key to making gingerbread houses with you kids easy is pre-assembling the houses and letting the icing harden the night before. Then the kids can just focus on decorating the houses without worrying about the houses collapsing. Below are two recipes for "royal icing" the frosting you can use with gingerbread houses that hardens and "glues" the pieces together

Royal Icing
Ingredients: 3 T meringue powder, 6 T water, 4 c. sifted confectioners' sugar
Instructions: Beat all ingredients at low speed for 7 to 10 minutes, or until icing forms peaks. Tip: Keep icing covered with a wet kitchen towel at all times. Icing can dry out quickly.

Or if you don't have meringue powder on hand (which I usually don't), you can also make royal icing with egg whites:

Royal Icing Recipe #2
Ingredients: 3 c. confectioners' sugar, 1/4 t. cream of tarter, 2 egg whites, beaten
Instructions: In a bowl, sift together confectioners' sugar and cream of tartar. Using electric mixer, beat in 2 beaten egg whites for about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to hold its shape.

Using your frosting as the "glue" assemble houses from gingerbread or graham crackers and candy!

In addition to gingerbread houses, we have also tried other variations on this classic candy craft. Last year, we made nativity scenes out of graham crackers, frosting and candy. We were inspired by the instructions here for a graham cracker nativity. However, we let the kids have their fair share of creativity, so you have to be very imaginative to see that the white marshmallows are sheep and the chocolate marshmallows are a shepherd with a candy cane staff.

And finally, almost every year, my kids beg to make candy trains. These are so simple and don't even require the heavy-duty frosting that gingerbread houses use, so you could just buy a can of frosting for the store. We have done this several times for our kids' Christmas parties with friends and it is a huge hit. Mini candy bars make excellent train cars, round candies such as smarties or lifesavers form the wheels, and an upside down Rolo or chocolate kiss can make a perfect funnel.

1 comment:

Mom of three ♥ said...

Love all your ideas! I would love to win that gift card for Christmas fun!