Like most people you may have found yourself staring in awe at the beautiful gingerbread houses that emerge each holiday season. But the reality is that gingerbread can be difficult to work with so why not choose an easier medium for a fun holiday craft. If you are looking for a fun holiday craft you may want to give building a sugar cube holiday house a try. The materials are easy to work with and making this sugar cube holiday house could become your favorite new tradition.
Some tips to consider before making this house are:
- Sugar cubes and royal icing serve as the bricks and mortar for this confectionery Christmas house. Be sure to add a few architectural details (peppermint sticks for roof shingles, jelly beans to line the windows, and rock candy along the rooftop).
- Be sure to use royal icing of a thicker consistency; otherwise, it can be difficult to make the candy stick.
What you will need:
- Parchment paper
- Rectangular-shaped sugar cubes
- Assorted pastry tips
- Royal Icing
- Piece of cardboard
- Old-fashioned stick candy
- Hard candies or rock sugar
- Assorted candy
- Rectangular-shaped cookie
- Cotton candy
Instructions for the project: Working on parchment paper, the first step is to create the base of the house. You do this by making sure the long sides of the sugar cubes are facing front, lay down 9 sugar cubes for the first layer of the front wall, 9 for the back wall, and 6 for each side wall. Using a wide, flat pastry tip, carefully pipe royal icing along the top of the cubes to act as the mortar. Keep in mind that in order to create a structurally sound house, you will need to stagger the layers of cubes so that the finished walls resemble brick walls. Begin the second layer by placing a cube in the right front corner with the short side facing the front, making sure it overlaps the first layer of both the front and side walls. Repeat on the left front corner, and the right and left back corners. You can then resume fitting cubes, long sides facing front, around the sides and back (leave front open). Keep in mind that you may have to score a few cubes with a knife and cut them with scissors to fit as needed. You should begin to leave space for the front door on the second layer: Lay down 3 cubes from both front corners, leaving a space in the center front wall. Continue the process by overlapping corners and staggering the bricks across each layer, leaving space for the front door, until you complete four layers. Be sure to leave space for windows on the fifth layer (two in the front, two in the back, and one on either side). For the front windows, lay down 1 cube at both front corners and 1 on either side of the doorway. For the back windows, lay down 1 cube at both back corners and 3 in the center. For both side windows, place 2 sugar cubes on the right and left corners. Continue building the house until the windows are 6 cubes high and the door is 8 cubes high. You will need to build three more layers above the windows and door before building the peaks for the roof. Depending on the direction you want the roof to face, keep in mind that the peaks can be built either on the side walls or on the front and back walls. Also you will need to decide on the roof’s pitch; to determine how many layers you’ll need, you can experiment with the cubes before adding the royal icing. To build the pitch you will cut a roof and chimney out of a piece of cardboard. For the roof, you can score the center, and fold in half. To decorate the roof, you can lay cardboard flat and spread with royal icing. You will then need to line up old-fashioned stick candy on the icing, creating a framework for the overall pattern. To create a shingled effect, you can stagger gumdrops that have been sliced in half over the roof. Allow icing to dry completely before placing the roof on top of the peaks. To make the chimney you will cut a small rectangle from a thin piece of cardboard. Score the cardboard with a knife three times (to create the four sides of the chimney), and fold it into a box shape. Tape the ends together. Then you should cut two notches on opposite sides so that it will sit on the roof. Cover the entire chimney with royal icing, and roll it in rock candy. You can then attach the chimney to the roof with royal icing. Spread additional icing along the peak of the roof, and line with hard candy or rock sugar. To decorate the house, you will simply use royal icing to affix various candies. Line the windows with peppermint pillows, jelly beans, or sour straws and use gumdrops for bushes and licorice for a tiled front stoop. Use a rectangular cookie for the front door, or a thin piece of cardboard covered with sour straws to resemble door panels. Keep in mind that you may have to prop up larger candies until the icing dries or tilt the house on its side while applying. If you want to create a blanket of snow, carefully spoon royal icing across the top of the roof, allowing it to descend along either side. You can use a small pastry tip to pipe icicles along the roof’s edge, and finish by piping decorative details with royal icing to cover cardboard edge of roof and any other seams that might need softening. As a final touch add some cotton candy to the chimney for “smoke.”