Sunday, December 12, 2010

HOW TO: Make a Gingerbread House with graham crackers and royal icing

Some people are crafty sorts, the kind of people who think nothing of spending the whole day baking homemade gingerbread and slicing it very thin and stacking it all up to make an adorable little Christmasy house. The rest of us? We'd like some help from the Keebler elves.

I'd like to be the first kind of person because in my head I envision a warm, fragrant kitchen that smells of cinnamon and other spice, with the girls sitting at the table with be-marshmallowed hot chocolate while I (wearing a festive apron, perhaps with appliqued poinsettias) take a pan of gingerbread out of the oven with one hand, while stirring up some royal icing with the other. In reality, I'd be so consumed with getting the icing right, the gingerbread would burn, the girls would grow tired of listening to me grouse about the STUPID ICING and they'd go off, firmly engrossed in their iPods.

But a gingerbread house with graham crackers? I can manage that. Although technically, they'd be graham houses, right? Anyway, I found this series of fifteen videos on YouTube from ExpertVillage on how to do just that. Don't be intimidated by the fact that there are fifteen videos - each one is four minutes long or less. They take you all the way from how to make the royal icing to how to assemble the graham cracker house to how to decorate an ice cream cone to look like a pine tree and more. They're really well done and so clever. I am now rip snortin' to get started on a gingerbread house of our very own. You really couldn't go wrong with this little project, considering that you could buy all the decorative candy at the Dollar Tree and Aldi. Inexpensive and so cute!

The only specialized items you'll need will be a pastry bag and several different sized of frosting tips, all of which are available -- sometimes for discounted prices -- at places like Hobby Lobby. Oh, and some green food coloring, available on the same aisle.

Here's the first video in the series, featuring a very pleasant woman with nicely manicured hands, just so you can get the feel for the whole thing.

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