This is a project that Ebi-kun and I really wanted to try this year but I searched high and low for the ingredients for gingerbread and failed (rumour has it that kaldi coffee farm stocks it, not our local one though) so then I saw that a lot of people use Graham Crackers which sent me on another hunt, I eventually tracked some down in Iishi Seijo in Kawagoe! This post is as much for me as it is for you because I am sure when it comes round to doing it again next year I will have forgotten everything.
We invited two of ebi-kun's friends who live down the road, they are sisters and had never made gingerbread houses either. After advice from Auntie lolo I decided to pre-build the houses and it was much easier than I thought it was going to be, Auntie lolo (she isn't my auntie, just a general type of auntie) suggested using melted almond bark at glue but I wasn't even going to try looking for that. I used royal icing, one batch to stick the houses together and a double batch for decorating:
1 egg white (at room temperature)
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
1 1/4 US sized cup of icing sugar
whisk on low speed until think and glue like.
Next, to shape the end of the houses you need a serrated knife but not a steak knife, just a regular dinner knife will do.
Keep the knife straight and use it like a saw, once you have scored the cracker you can break it or just keep sawing. If the cut is not clean rub it against one of the scrap pieces which will act like sand paper.
Ebi-kun assisted with the house building, we did it about an hour before the guests arrived and the icing had set pretty well by the time they got here. When they got here I whipped up the second batch of icing and gave each child a bowl of icing, a spoon and a bowl of sweeties then left them to it...
m-chan seemed to eat half of her icing, I hope she wasn't sick when she got home!
M-chan got stuck in, she took a bit more time than the younger two who were basically piling on as many sweeties as possible!
and our finished set, the test one, mine and ebi-kun's, they look really cute and it was super easy to do, this is definitely a tradition we are going to start (taking I can find crackers again next year!)