Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gingerbread House "Glue" {$0.48 per cup}

$0.48 per cup          47% savings          save $2.52 yearly

*Update: Many thanks to one commenter who mentioned that meringue powder (found in craft stores and some grocery stores) can be substituted for egg whites if you'd prefer to avoid raw eggs. For future reference: 2 teaspoons meringue powder + 2 Tablespoons water = 1 large egg white. The cost of the recipe will increase slightly.

WOW! After a long self-inflicted hiatus, (visiting family we only see once a year for several weeks) it's good to be back. To get into the groove of things, and since it seems appropriate for this time of year, I'd like to tell you about a new love in my life:

What started out as a fun traditional Christmas activity for my children turned into a major creative outlet for me... as evidenced by the un-realistic, yet semi-impressive "gingerbread house" above.  *Notice there's no candy... I had to force myself to stop working on it, because my real home was turning into a disaster area from spending so much time bent over crackers and icing.

I got a tiny bit carried away...


I place all the blame entirely on the "glue"... I LOVE IT!!! 

My second daughter's simple alpine chalet

Every other year that we've made gingerbread houses, we've used the typical graham crackers and my basic homemade frosting recipe, which happens to be buttercream... I know, I know, what did I expect? Buttercream is not meant to get rock hard. For whatever reason, I used it anyway. 

Every other year, my frosting tended to run, took forever to dry, and wasn't all that sticky. One year, my daughter made them with friends using the canned stuff with similar results.

This year, something had to change, gosh darn it!

My oldest daughter's candy creation 

I'd heard about "glue" for gingerbread houses, and decided to look into it. Turns out, the "glue" is a basic royal icing, and it couldn't be easier to make. PLUS it's cheaper than making buttercream frosting, and way cheaper than buying the canned frosting.

So, after I'd made the royal icing, and we started making our graham cracker creations, I mentally crossed my fingers that all would go well. Turns out, I needn't have worried. The glue was...


So amazing, and so easy to work with, that it inspired me to do more than slap a few crackers together.

No holding two graham crackers together for 5 minutes in fear that they'd fall apart at any given moment.

No groaning in dismay as carefully placed candy slid down walls and rooftops.

Smiles and high-fives all around!

This will be my go-to recipe for gingerbread house "glue" from now on.

My husband's "Christmas" tank... I'm still scratching my head over this one...
Gingerbread House "Glue" ~ Royal Icing
Printable Version

*Makes about 3 cups

5 cups powdered or confectioner's sugar
3 egg whites

In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and egg whites together with a hand mixer for 3 minutes. Icing should be smooth. Use as desired.

*Tip: For easy decorating/construction of gingerbread houses, use a small round decorating tip, and fill a decorating bag with the icing.

** This recipe contains raw egg whites.

~ Savings ~

Cost Breakdown:
2 lb confectioner's sugar - $1.48 = 7.5 C = $0. 197/C = $0.987
1 dozen large eggs - $1.79 = $0.15/egg = $0.45
Total recipe cost = $1.44
Cost per cup = $0.48

The Contender:
Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting (16 oz.) = $1.58
Per cup = $0.90


"Over a year" scenario:
Make Gingerbread House "Glue" 2 times = $2.88
Use equivalent Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting (16 oz.) = $5.40

*Money Saved = $2.52


  1. So are your creations edible then when they are done? Or are they just to look at?

    1. They are just to be looked at.

      To be honest, I licked the icing off my fingers a few times while making my gingerbread house... however, it's not recommended due to using raw egg whites. The eggs were bought from a store and pasteurized, so they're about as safe as raw eggs can be... but still I can't recommend it. Just like I can't "recommend" eating raw cookie dough.

  2. It is not as inexpensive, but I make my royal icing with meringue powder, water and powder sugar. That way it is "safe" to eat and still probably cheaper than store bought frosting. You can buy meringue powder at most craft stores and use one of their 40% off coupons.
    And your houses look great!!!

  3. Perfect timing as the kids decorating night is Friday. They do little houses and cookies. Thank you! And I adore the tank, I think our husbands would get along famously :) lol!

  4. If you eat lemon meringue pie you can eat royal icing. Cake decorators use it all the time. Just maybe dont wait two weeks!


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