What I love most about the holidays are the traditions that encompass the season. One of our favorite family traditions this time of year is making gingerbread houses. This year Lauren, Ashley and myself thought it would be so fun to get all of our kids together to make their own!
Although I have made gingerbread houses completely from scratch, I find that making homemade icing (aka edible glue) and using graham crackers and sugar cones as a base is just the right size for our kids. Seeking a more natural approach to gingerbread house decorating I like to use dried fruits and nuts and bits of nature like sprigs of rosemary or evergreen.
Below you will find my favorite icing recipe and a list of decorating ingredient ideas. The almond extract really adds a nice flavor to the icing but if you are in a pinch and don't have almond extract, vanilla will do.
Gingerbread house icing (aka edible glue)
- 3 egg whites room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1. In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until foamy. Add powdered sugar gradually. Once completely incorporated beat on high speed until mixture is able to hold stiff peaks (probably 5 to 7 minutes).
2. Spoon batter into an icing bag and use immediately. Or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.
Gingerbread house walls and decorations
- gingerbread house icing (recipe above)
- graham crackers
- sugar cones (yes, the kind you would put ice cream in)
- thin pretzel sticks
- dried currants
- dried cranberries
- unsweetened and dehydrated shredded coconut
- slivered almonds
- mini chocolate chips
- bits of nature (sprigs of rosemary, evergreen,juniper berries, etc.)
- cardboard square to build gingerbread house on or plate
Let the creativity begin! Using graham crackers and/or sugar cone(s) as a base, start icing walls together, then adding decorations. Our kids had so much fun coming up with their own unique design. And they loved tasting the process too!
Happy Holidays and enjoy!