Graham Cracker Cottages

There is an ideal way to do things, and then there is the way you actually end up doing them.

I’ve been doing this project with my kids for years.  Usually I do it right, mixing up frosting and gluing the little houses together ahead of time so that the kids can decorate them later, when they’re dry and sturdy.  This year, friends came over and I didn’t have any frosting mixed up, so I let the kids put the houses together with spray-can frosting and decorate them an hour or so later.  There was lots of shoddy construction and many walls collapsed and had to be pushed back up and reinforced with candy canes, but it didn’t really matter.   The kids loved it as much as ever.

To make graham cracker cottages, you will need graham crackers, paper plates, spray-on frosting in cans (the kind that comes with plastic decorating tips) and lots of candy to decorate with.  Making your own frosting is simple too.  I’ll include the recipes at the end of this post! For the hard frosting used to glue the crackers together, you’ll need powdered sugar, egg whites (I’d recommend pasteurized eggs), and cream of tartar. For the softer decorating frosting, you’ll need powdered sugar, butter, and a little milk.  If you make your own frosting, don’t forget to have a pastry tube and decorating tips for applying the frosting to the graham crackers!

Building the cottages:  First, break the graham crackers into squares.  Put a dab of frosting (spray-can or egg-white frosting)  on a paper plate and stick a square to the frosting.  Then, pipe frosting around the square (on the plate) and put up four square walls by sort of leaning the crackers together.  Pipe frosting between the cracks to hold the walls together.  Now, pipe frosting around the tops of the walls and lean two graham cracker squares together to form a roof for your cottage. Pipe more frosting at the top of the roof and onto any exposed graham cracker edges to make it look pretty.  If possible, allow the cottage(s) to dry until the frosting is hard.

Decorating the cottages: Have your child pipe spray-can or soft frosting onto the cottage and stick pieces of candy and cookies onto the frosting to decorate the them.  Younger children may need help applying the frosting, but they like to do it themselves, so let them try, even if it doesn’t look perfect!  I always make a cottage that I can decorate too, so I don’t try to take over my kids’ projects.  After all, why should  kids have all the fun?

Royal Icing (for gluing cottage together): To one pound powdered sugar, add three egg whites and 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar.  Beat until firm.  (The more you stir this icing, the firmer it will get.) Cover with a moist cloth until use.

Butter Icing (for decorating): Cream 4 Tbs. butter until very soft.  Add two cups powdered sugar and mix thoroughly.  Add a drop or two of milk at a time if the mixture is too stiff to pipe through your decorating tube.  You want to make it soft enough for your kids to push out easily, but not so runny that it won’t hold its shape.  Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out and it doesn’t have to be perfect!

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One Response to “Graham Cracker Cottages”

  1. unplannedcooking Says:

    Yum! I’ve been waiting until all my kids were healthy to start this project. Looks like the time is finally here!

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