This year I wanted to do a Christmas activity every week to try and bring in the season. One of our activities was making a Christmas cookie house. Here’s what we did and how it turned out.
What You Need:
- package of Graham crackers (more if you want to make several houses)
- lots of your favourite colourful candy (I used jujubes, licorice allsorts and smarties)
- Royal Icing (recipe below – it’s best to make this before you start building your houses)
- aluminum foil
- a flat moveable surface (like a cheese board)
- a small knife
- a cutting board
Time it Takes:
It took us about one hour the first night to prepare and build the houses, and then 2 hours the second night to decorate them.
How to Make a Gingerbread House out of Cookies (that aren’t gingerbread):
First you’ll want to prepare your surface. To do this, cover your flat surface with aluminum foil…for this we used a cheese board. Once it’s covered you can start building your houses.
To build one simple house you need 6 full graham crackers, and one cracker cut in half diagonally. Your 6 full crackers will be used for four sides of your house, and 2 sides of your roof. Your one cracker cut diagonally will be used to fill the gap between the front and back of the house and the roof (see picture below). The cookies can break easily when cutting them, so make sure you have plenty of cookies to makes mistakes with
Using the royal icing, as “glue” to hold the sides and roof of your house together. You’ll need to use your hands to keep the shape of the house and allow the icing to dry and keep it in place. I held each house for about 3 minutes, and then was able to carefully place them on the cheese board.
You can also get creative with your construction…building a 2 story modern house, or a much longer house, for example. After you build the frames of your house (or houses if you want to make a Christmas village), lay them out on your flat surface that’s covered with aluminum foil.
At this point you might want to take a break and let the houses really dry out, or you might continue carefully. I took a break, because my daughter needed to go to bed and I wanted her to see everyone decorating the houses as I knew she would find that really fun.
When decorating your houses it’s a good idea to know the “look” you want to achieve before you just start attaching the candy. I started making my border all different colours, and then scrapped that and decided to go with the classic red, white and green Christmas theme.
Once you’re ready to start decorating your house(s), you simply put a little royal icing at the side of the candy where you want it stuck to your house, or the aluminum foil. I started with my border for the village, so I put royal icing at the bottom of every jujube as I was attaching them to the aluminum foil.
Next I put the royal icing on the rooftops to create the “fresh snow” effect. It’s a good idea to make sure your house structure is really solid and the icing that’s gluing the sides of the house together is super dry, otherwise the weight of the icing can collapse your house.
I considered putting icing sugar on the “ground” of my village, but quickly decided against it, as I didn’t want my village to have any moveable parts on it that could cause a mess. It turns out that this was the right choice, as lots of people that came over wanted to see the village, and it actually travelled to many different locations in our house. I’m happy there was no icing sugar dust to clean up.
Then you can go crazy and decorate your houses however you want. I used my black licorice and cut the bottom at an angle to create a chimney for my house. My husband created a Santa going down the chimney out of jujubes, and made these Victorian lampposts at the entryway of our village. We used Smarties cut in half to create pathways out of our houses. We used licorice allsorts to add windows to the houses. We just did wherever our imagination lead us. It was great fun!
One of my favourite parts of this project was that it was a cheap, fun way to do something “Christmasy” where the whole family did it together, and everyone added their own creative part to it.
That’s my kind of Christmas activity!
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Royal Icing Recipe:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring extract
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons water
Christmas Books and Music to Get you Inspired: