As I watched my wife Serena lay the first few pieces for the foundation of her graham cracker house, all I could think was “that house is so structurally unsound”. See, as a teenager I worked for a general contractor. Summers of sweeping floors, carrying shingles to the roof and being sent on lunch and coffee runs automatically made me an authority on home building, including ones made from candy and sweet crackers. As she used a mixture made from egg whites and powdered sugar to tie walls together I just kept saying to myself, “there is no way that thing is going to not collapse under the weight of itself.
I asked her if she wanted me to go to the garage to get some milk cartons so she could use them as a foundation to strengthen the walls. She shrugged off my suggestions and I rewarded myself for my attempts with another glass of eggnog spiked with Maker’s Mark Bourbon. I would find out later that as a kid Serena practically had an assembly line of these houses coming out of her Bronx home every year as a kid for friends and family. So to her, my babbling about foundations and milk cartons were the idle chatter of someone who did not understand the holding power of royal icing, but its a week after this thing was built and I am having trouble pulling gumdrops off to munch on.
1 Box of Graham Crackers
Mints (Red & Green)
Mini Wheats Cereal
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Making the Royal Icing
In a large bowl combine the egg whites and vanilla then beat until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Cover with a damp dishcloth to keep from drying up.
Dip bottoms and sides of 2 graham crackers in royal icing and hold together on the surface until glued. Continue until you have a square base. Repeat this step for a two-story house. Dip ends of crackers in royal icing and place on top of the assembled square as a base (see third picture from the top). This helps stabilize the roof. Again dip ends of graham crackers in royal icing and stack on top in a triangle fashion (shown in the 4th picture from the top). Gently cut the pieces of cracker to close in both sides of the roof. Make the roof from the mini-wheat by placing royal icing on non-frosted side and place on the roof until it is covered in what looks like a thatch roof. Use the remaining ingredients to decorate the house to your personal style. Use some teddy grahams to put your family out front, an animal cracker acts as a nice dog cat or giraffe. Sift some powdered sugar of the top cover up the surface with some newly fallen sugar snow. Immediately begin eating the candy off the house you worked so hard to build.