This month has been pretty hectic at our house, as I’m sure it is at most homes this time of year. There are so many different holiday activities, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to do them all. In order to make time for as many as possible, I’ve found that I skimp on the everyday chores. The meals become simpler, the laundry goes a few extra days before getting washed, the house cleaning…well, let’s just say there are some parts of the house that just get ignored.
I really wanted to make gingerbread houses this year. I had a lot of leftover Halloween candy that I thought would be great to use on them. I thought about buying a gluten-free kit (A & J Bakery or Cherry Blossom Cakes), but I had already bought Jules special flour mix for making graham crackers and gingerbread. So, I didn’t buy the kit and I haven’t even opened the gluten-free graham flour. There are only a couple days left until Christmas and I’m thinking about finishing my shopping, wrapping presents and sending out the last of the Christmas cards.
So, I’ve decided to do what I did last year: use pre-made gluten-free graham crackers (Josef or Kinnikinnick) to make two small houses, one for each of my kids to decorate. It really worked out well last year. It was nice for each of my kids to have their own house to decorate. And, the small size was perfect for their attention span (then ages 3 and 5). Now that I’ve made that decision, I just have to make the gluey frosting to stick the graham crackers together. I have two different recipes for the frosting listed below: one that uses egg-whites, and one that uses meringue powder. Both work well, but I used the egg-white recipe last year. I put the icing in a pastry bag with plain decorating tips, but you could just put the icing into a zip-style bag and clip the corner with scissors. Last year, we used gum drops, M&Ms, candy-canes, and some holiday-shaped marshmallows. Of course, you can use whatever gluten-free candy you have on-hand.
This would be a great project for a support group for celiac kids (R.O.C.K. or Cel-Kids). The project is quick enough to be done in a reasonable amount of time, takes little preparation for the organizer, and the houses are small enough for each kid to take home.
Royal Icing using Egg Whites
3 egg whites
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp vanilla
- Beat egg whites until fluffy and add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.
- Mix in the other ingredients and beat until thick and stiff.
- Once you’ve made up the icing, be sure to keep it covered in the bowl so it doesn’t dry out.
- This makes a large batch of icing. It’s probably enough to make 6 small (cracker-size) houses.
Royal Icing for Gingerbread Houses
(I got this recipe from my sister, who says she got it from Better Homes and Gardens.)
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
4 tsps Meringue Powder
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 Cup warm water
Combine sifted powdered sugar, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. Add warm water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until combined, then on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until very stiff.
Add 1 to 4 Tbsp of water, 1 tsp at a time to make glaze of desired consistency.
Want to make your own gluten-free gingerbread cookies or houses from scratch? Try one of these recipes:
For more gluten-free holiday treats, check out this week’s edition of “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten-Free?” at The Gluten-Free Homemaker.