I’ll admit, I don’t have any memories of decorating a gingerbread house as a kid. Sorry mom if it’s slipping my memory. So needless to say, when I saw the new Gingerbread M&Ms at Walmart I thought I’d attempt to get creative with some holiday decorating ideas.
I got this crazy (really crazy) idea that I would BUILD a gingerbread house out out of these new Gingerbread M&Ms that are only available at Walmart. Oh so clever. In my head, my fun holiday craft would work perfectly. In my head right? My intention, was to use a glue gun to hold the M&Ms together, because who really eats gingerbread houses anyway, but my dear husband (insisted) said I should use royal icing.
Did I mention I don’t recall ever decorating a gingerbread house?
Or made royal icing for that matter. Cripes, that’s it’s own blog post all together. Royal Icing, which is traditionally made with egg whites and confectioners sugar is the “glue” that holds decorations on gingerbread houses. Because of salmonella risks, most people now use meringue powder or powdered egg whites. I chose to use powdered egg whites, which is more readily available. The trick to royal icing is beating it long enough so stiff peaks form and that it’s thick so it holds together, in my case, holds the Gingerbread M&Ms together.
Seems easy enough, right? I mean, how hard can it be?
Well, what they don’t tell you is things like humidity and temperature factor into your royal icing and how fast it hardens, sort of like souffle. So it might take a few times to get it right. But once you do, you should have the perfect glue to hold your M&Ms together.
With traditional a gingerbread house your main structure is either gingerbread cookies or in some cases, graham crackers. It’s a nice solid structure for your walls and adhere together and then decorate.
BUT in a Gingerbread M&M house it’s a totally different craft. It’s more like building a little stone house. It’s a little trickier. You have to worry about your walls tumbling down, I’m sure the folks that built their real houses out of stone felt the same way.
I’m going to be honest, my first attempt at this was not so Pin-worthy. I was like this is going to be an awesome craft for the kids – it will be easy. Ha. Famous last words. The walls kept collapsing. It was driving me nuts.
My second attempt I thought I’d be all clever and wrap a tea tin in saran wrap and then build the walls. It was a good idea in theory, but skip it. The saran wrap doesn’t allow the royal icing to breathe, so therefore it doesn’t dry. I was headed to Pinterest Fail again.
Well, the good news is, I redeemed myself, since I have pictures of both finished houses. But next time? I’ll use the glue gun. Here’s some other advice I have for you.
Tips on creating the perfect gingerbread house
1. Royal Icing (or a glue gun HA)
2. A pastry bag for your royal icing. Or you can do what I did and shove a tip into a ziploc bag. But then, I’m more Magyver than Martha.
3. Some sort of structure to build your house around until your royal icing dries. Make sure it’s breathable! TRUST ME
4. A lazy susan. Best idea ever. Makes it easy to rotate your house while building it.
If you need some festive holiday decorating ideas check out these fun Gingerbread M&M’s crafts. If you have some creative ideas of your own, participate in the Gingerbread M&M Instagram contest to win a great prize!
And since you’re getting crafty, don’t forget to download this coupon for your M&Ms!