A fond memory of Christmas growing up as a child was making gingerbread houses in Sunday school. Pounds of powdered sugar frosting were mixed up to use as cement while cups of candy served as our supplies. In an hour, we would transform our graham cracker spec houses into colorful candy mansions – an M&M cobblestone pathway that lead up a grand Hershey’s chocolate double door, Fruit Stripe bubble gum shutters that border bright Starburst windows, and strands of Skittles that were deemed Christmas lights for decoration. While snowmen Peeps and frosted Waffle cone trees light up with colorful sprinkles fill the snow covered yard, a salted-pretzel fence bordered the back yard. The options were endless and the construction was left entirely up to our creativity.
Fond memories indeed! Of sneaking a finger full of frosting and a couple pieces of candy here and there (well, more than a couple I’ll admit). I went by the rule – one for the house…one for my mouth :) I looked back in my photo album as a kid and here are a couple of the houses I constructed growing up…
It was so much fun for us as kids that we’ve decided to continue on with the tradition as a family. When we all come home for Christmas, we fill the kitchen table with all kinds of candy and together spend the afternoon as architects – creating our very own candy land.
Even though I’m 26, I still go by my rule – one for the house…one for my mouth. Only now, instead of running around like an energetic seven year-old with a sugar-high, you can find me lying on the couch suffering from a stomach ache. I really shouldn’t complain; I’ll continue making candy houses every year until they stop making the sugary treats…or I develop diabetes – but let’s hope for neither!
If you’d like to make your own candy covered gingerbread house, here’s how I make mine…
1. Mix up the cement a.k.a. frosting.
- 1 lb. powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 4 tbsp. milk
- Combine and beat with an electric mixer. You may have to add a little more milk to achieve a thick, pasty consistency.
2. Construct the house. Using the frosting to secure it, cover a cardboard milk carton (or a small carton of whipping cream) with graham crackers and allow the structure to dry for several hours.
3. Make your house your home. Whether you want to fill the foundation with your favorite candies or make a realistic rendition using chocolate shingles and Candy Cane shutters – you are the designer, so decorate as your heart desires!
4. Enjoy! Candy-covered gingerbread houses make a great centerpiece…and if you get a little hungry, just sneak a piece of sugar from the house :)
Have fun! And maybe you can make this a tradition of your own…just try not to let the tummy ache you get afterwards become a tradition too :)
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you were all able to enjoy the holidays with the loved ones in your life!