Halloween Gingerbread Houses
We had a church Trunk or Treat on Saturday, leaving us with very large bags of candy and a feeling of dread for the mountain of candy we knew was still coming. In an effort to put that sugar to work for us, we pulled out the chocolate graham crackers and leftover frosting and whipped up some Halloween Gingerbread Houses.
This whole project took me about 10-15 minutes of prep to cut the crackers, cook the sugar, and form the houses, which was pretty good for such a fun activity. They were totally into it, decorating them for like 20 minutes. Then it was another like 10 minutes to clean up. So, for anyone keeping track that's about 25 minutes Mom Time vs 20 minutes Activity Time. haha. That's about how it goes. But then we got to sneak off candy from them all week and that is priceless.
You need 4 graham crackers per house. Cut two of them like the one on the left and two down the middle like the one on the right.
Eat the pieces that are crossed out. Or give them to your kids. Or eat them yourself.
I wish I had thought to take a picture of the finished house. This is just a blown up one from the picture above.
The real trick to these bad boys is that the structure has to been secure. No canned frosting will hold the house together. It will collapse as fast as my two year old can eat a fun sized Twix. I've found 2 ways for success with that 1) Use royal frosting or 2) Use burnt sugar. I've also heard of people using hot glue and while I'm sure that would work great I am a little nervous about my kids eating it. But if it works for you, great!
I've actually never made my own royal frosting because that takes planning and I'm not real good on that. You need meringue powder or something. As far as I can remember it's not difficult to make at all. You just have to actually remember to buy the powder. Once I used royal frosting that was already made and in a bag. It was so easy and I have no idea where to get it but if you find it, rejoice because your Gingerbread House Life is set.
The second way to attach the house together is using burnt sugar. This is not a job for kids. Let me repeat that. This is NOT a kid job. You pour some sugar in a pan, cook it until it turns into sugar lava, dip the edges of the crackers in it one at a time and VERY carefully attach the house together. I've burned myself pretty good. More than once. But I'll tell you what, that house is going nowhere. You just want to do this part before your kids are in the picture for their safety but also so they won't hear you use any inappropriate language.
To make burnt sugar, start with a heavy bottomed pot and pour about a cup of sugar in. Stir it often over medium heat until the sugar melts and turns into said lava, about 5 to 10 minutes. Watch it closely and again, do not let kids around the pot and you be careful yourself. Just dip one side of the graham cracker into it and immediately push it together- it dries pretty quickly. The nice thing is about this is that the sugar is so strong you don't need to get every joint; just get the main ones and they will hold the whole thing together.
These are really fun to do for Christmas too. If you still have any Halloween candy leftover (who are you people?!) you could use them then too. If you have a Winco nearby they have awesome seasonal bulk candy that the kids get really excited to use.
Now that I'm thinking about it, this would be fun for any holiday- St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Valentine's, Cinco de Mayo. Go crazy. And eat a gummy bear for me.