Saturday, December 17, 2011

Melted Sugar Gingerbread Houses (No Royal Frosting Necessary)

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

Remember these?

They're "gingerbread" houses stuck together with melted sugar.

It's so much easier and faster than using royal frosting. It sets up almost immediately and it sets up hard.

The only thing you've got to do is melt the sugar. Which sounds a little scary. But is super easy. Especially since it doesn't matter too much if your sugar gets burned. P.S. Since it doesn't matter if your sugar burns a little, you're sure to make it perfectly amber every time. For caramel, I pretty much always burn my melted sugar unless I use my fail-proof caramel. However, when I make these, I have never burned the sugar. Ever. It's a little ridiculous.

Have a look here for the original post.


Here's the briefer version of what you do.

1. Throw some sugar in a pan and turn the heat to medium. I wasn't too concerned about burning and was in a hurry so I turned it a little higher than medium.

2. Stir the sugar around with a spatula that will not melt (wood, silicone, metal if your pan won't get scratched). Don't mix it like crazy. Just give it stir every 20 seconds or so until you start to notice the sugar crystals on the bottom becoming liquid-y.

3. Keep stirring and it will turn brown and clumpyTurn the heat down a bit to medium to medium low.

4. Don't freak out. Just keep stirring. Remember if it burns, you don't have much to lose. This isn't caramel; it's just gingerbread house, which will is mostly about looks. It'll start to get melty and golden.

5. It will be melted and ready to have the sides of your houses dipped in. This has a few lumps left, which wouldn't have worked for caramel sauce, but didn't matter here. By the way, even if you're using real gingerbread, this will work great.

6. Take it off the heat.

7. Dip the edges of your graham crackers or gingerbread in.

8. And stick the sides together. Remember, watch your fingers. This stuff is hot. Also, have a plate or whatever you're going to set it on nearby so you don't put it on the counter and have to pry it off.

9. You'll need to work a little quickly, but don't stress out because if the sugar in the pan starts to harden, you can just heat it again and it will liquidify again. 

10. Now for the candy, you'll probably want to use a pretty white frosting. Because it looks like snow. I was about to whip up a batch or royal frosting. But Kip hates it so he told me to just make some regular frosting really thick. I didn't think it'd work, but sure enough it did.

I used 1 T butter, with 2 C powdered sugar and then added milk by the 1/2 tsp until it was good and thick. Ours was thick enough to roll into balls.

I think you could get away with it a little thinner that that too, but it can't be normal frosting consistency or the candy will just drip off the houses. We globbed ours on with our fingers and it worked fine. You will have to use this frosting soon because as it sits it will dry out and things will adhere to it less and less. However, if it still starts getting too dry and things aren't sticking, give it a go in the microwave for 8 seconds or so; or add a few drops of water or milk. (Ours doesn't look very pretty on the houses, but that's because of our decorating skills, not a failing of the actual frosting.) 

11. Then we let the kids have at it and decorate them. (And if you notice that your kids are filling their houses to the brim with candy, just look away; it's better not to know.)


This is linked to Sweets for a Saturday.


  1. this worked great for making 30 houses for a youth church activity...but now the question is, HOW DO I GET THIS OUT OF MY CAST IRON SKILLET?? :) What got on the edge is baked on.

    1. Hmmm. Excellent question. I'd try getting the pan hot and then pour some water on it. I think it will sizzle and stuff and then loosen and come off. Good luck.

  2. I know it's an old post but maybe someone else still wonders about cleaning their pan: just sit it in hot soapy water for a while (if necessary over night) the sugar will dissolve.

    Thanks for the caramel instructions!!!

  3. My son had gingerbread houses like this at preschool and had been asking to make some at home (in July!). I just tried it and it was easy and the houses seem solid. Caution- don't let it drip on you- it's VERY hot!!

    1. It is wicked hot, but otherwise so easy that it seems worth it to me.

  4. Amazing Sugar Gingerbread recipe...



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