Call me crazy, but I thought it would be fun to host a gingerbread house workshop with my playgroup. The response was overwhelming and I soon found myself adding a second workshop, then a third and yes, a fourth. We needed 15 houses for the first two workshops...
The first step is to trim the graham crackers to make the pieces for the front and back of each house. Use the short end of a graham cracker as your template when cutting the crackers. I used Honey Maid brand and found that I also needed to trim off the bottom "row" of each cracker so they weren't too tall when constructing the hosues.
Next, I trimmed large rectangular cake boards (cut each into 4 smaller rectangles) to act as the bases for each house, prepped my pastry bag and dug out my Wilton spreader. Make sure you have a Venti Mocha from Starbucks on hand as it takes up to 4-6 hours to construct 15 houses when you have a 3 and 4-year-old to tend to during the whole process.
Be sure to place a damp kitchen towel over your mixer as you begin to make the royal icing. The last thing that you want is powdered sugar ALL over your kitchen! I use Wilton's Royal Icing recipe.
We used tons of candy--M & M's, Skittles, Dots, gumdrops, sugar cones for trees, etc., to decorate the houses. The kids had a wonderful time and were all on a sugar high after they finished decorating their houses. Surprisingly, only a few kids were more interested in eating the treats than decorating.
Here is Ian's second gingerbread house:
And here he is proudly sitting in front of his house waiting for the fourth and final gingerbread house workshop/playdate to begin.
Nathan's second gingerbread house:
Nathan LOVED decorating the houses and couldn't wait to take this picture so that we could show it to Daddy when he returned home.