Okay, so for the past 7 years, we have done gingerbread (gram cracker) houses every year as a Christmas tradition. And, I know that we are not the only family with this tradition. However, ours may be a little different from yours. Rather than using frosting to "glue" the houses together, I use sugar...yes, just sugar. And before I divulge my secret, I must give credit where credit is due. I was told how to do this by my Mentor Teacher, Sherrie Olson, when I taught kindergarten. However, it was only explained to me, and through trial and error, I have figured it out, and am happy to share with all of you!
So, here it is...
First, you break your gram crackers into squares. Some packages come already in squares, and that makes it so much easier, and you are left with a lot less gram cracker casualties this way. If you do end up buying the rectangles, I would suggest Keebler. They are a lot less crumbly.
Then, pre-heat a shallow pan. This does not need to be non-stick. Once it is pre-heated, pour about 1 1/2 cups of sugar in the pan. It will immediately start to liquefy. Once it reduces down to a light brown color, turn it all the way down to low, or even all the way off. This will prevent smoke detectors going off :), as well as a black, burnt sugar, which is pretty bitter. If, during the process, the sugar starts to thicken on you, just turn the heat back on for a minute or so. If you start to run low, just add more. Be careful not to drip the sugar on your skin. Sugar burns are awful!
Then, take two of your squares. Dip one edge in the sugar, and stick the other side on, to make the roofs. I was making about 30 houses, so I have a ton! You, most likely, won't have this many.
Then, to make the base of the houses, take 2 roofs. Stick one in the sugar, so that the 2 edges are covered. Do the same to the other one. Then stick the two together. They will look like this...
Make sure to leave some roofs aside. I have done it before, when I have gotten in the "zone," and was left with no roofs for my houses. Not a good thing :/
Then, take the base of the house and dip it in the sugar. Turn it up towards you, and stick a roof on. Once I have done that, I take the whole house, dip the bottom into the sugar, and then "glue" it to the plate.
This is what it will look like.
Now you have a gingerbread (gram cracker :) ) house that does not break easily, and that will not move around on the plate! And, best of all, it is COMPLETELY edible!
As far as clean up goes, the sugar will harden on your pan. DO NOT try to chizzle it off. This WILL ruin your pan. Just soak it in water, and the sugar will dissolve away.
Then, for the decorating...
I portion out the candy by putting it on the plate around the house. This is all of the candy that they get, and they know not to ask for more :). Then I give them each a Dixie cup full of frosting, with a large popcicle (craft) stick. I tell them that they need to frost their house first, and whatever is left, they can do with it what they please ;). They keep their germs in their own germy area :).
Here is Azure (2)
Aspen (I just love it when I catch them with their eyes closed...everyone needs one of these awesome pictures once in a while :) )
Azure and Aussie
Here is Ace's. They like to use pretzels, because it makes them look like log cabins.
More showing off of their creations...
Here are some pics from my preschool class