Hold the phone, a dietitian is about to post a story all about candy, sugar, and absolutely nothing “healthy”. It’s the holiday season and just because I’m not a fan of eating sugar year round doesn’t mean I don’t like to join in on the fun this year. This is the second annual DIY Graham Cracker Gingerbread House making party that I’ve helped organize, and I wanted to share it with you.
Find Your People
Let’s back up for one second. When I first moved to Albany I felt very isolated. It’s really hard to move to a city and not really know anyone. The previous 2 places I had moved had been for school so it was almost like walking into a group of people that were pre-selected as friends for you.
In Albany, I didn’t have that. I worked at the hospital and met a few people I really jibbed with, but for the majority, they were strictly working relationships. I definitely value the people I met there and even ran into one of my favorite nurses (Hi Dan!) when in Walmart this weekend shopping for the gingerbread houses. I realized when I ran into him that I’ve finally become a local and am no longer an outsider.
It wasn’t easy finding my people, but by continuing to put myself out there in situations and places that made me happy, I eventually found my people here in Albany. So much so that I now have traditions and annual events to look forward to. This weekend, in particular, we had our 4th annual Craft Night (more on that later) and our 2nd annual Gingerbread House Making
DIY Gingerbread House Making Party
My friends have some pretty cool kids. They remind me of my niece and nephews and since I can’t see them all the time (because I live in the North Pole), I like to be an Aunt to my friend’s kids in the interim. That being said I suggested last year that we make Gingerbread Houses while JJ was in Korea, aka gave me an excuse to have people babysit me and they were all in!
It was such a success that we figured we’d make it a tradition. I love decorating and building Gingerbread Houses. I’m not very good at it and not that crafty but for whatever
What You Need
I highly recommend grabbing your supplies early in the season. For whatever reason, everyone goes crazy this time of year and forgets their manners while shopping. Anywho, I grabbed all the supplies from Walmart, except the base which
- 6 boxes of plain graham crackers
- 1 batch of Royal Icing (see below)
- 3 jars of icing
- food dye
- pretzel sticks & snaps
- gummy bears
- Sno caps/
- Twizzlers & Pull & Peel Twizzlers
- Kit Kats
- Hershey Kisses (regular & peppermint)
- Candy canes (big &/or small)
- Holiday colored M&Ms
- Peppermint candies
- Holiday Peeps
- Coconut Flakes
- Nerd Rope
- & any other candy you can use to make house/yard details
How to Make Your own DIY Graham Cracker Gingerbread House
You have a few options when making the house, but if you’re a first timer I recommend you use the graham cracker box as a base.
- Lay cardboard box down & get icing & candy laid out ready to use. (You don’t want to try opening the bags when you have icing plastered on your hands.
- Empty graham cracker boxes and gently set graham crackers in the middle.
- Create a housing structure. You can do so by using the graham cracker box as the base or do it free standing. Note: the royal icing works best to stick it all together.
- Place house on the box with plenty of icing. Allow it to sit.
- Yard work! Meanwhile, coat the board with icing & add outdoor features like a walkway, shrubs, a hot tub, a fire pit, snowmen, lighting, etc.
- Let it snow! Add coconut flakes to the wet icing and make it look like it snowed.
- Decorate the house! Add windows (pretzels), lighting (Dots, M&Ms, nerd ropes), wreaths (peppermint candies), wreaths (pull & peel
This is where you get to be creative and make it your own! Get creative and have fun!
You can certainly grab pre-made icing but if you want icing that holds the house together and hardens quickly, I highly recommend taking the time to make this! Here’s what I used/did:
- 8 cups powdered/confectioner’s sugar
- 5 egg whites, beaten
- 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
- Combine cream of tartar & sugar in a large bowl
- Add egg whites to mixture & beat with a hand blender until icing forms and stiff enough to hold a shape
- Use immediately or cover until use
If you make one of these gingerbread houses let me know, I’d love to see it! Happy Holidays and remember a little candy ingestion is not the end of the world, just don’t make it a daily thing 😉 Enjoy the experience, don’t obsess over the food.