First, 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.
Then stir it 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.
Keep stirring and it will turn brown and clumpy. Turn the heat down a bit to medium low or so.
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.
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.
Take it off the heat.
Dip the edges of your graham crackers or gingerbread in.
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.
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. As a bonus, while you work, it will make lovely strings of candy that you can eat. Or feed to your kids if you're nice. See that drop in the picture above. It was hardened and so pretty I wished I could have hung it on the tree. Instead I gave it to my 3-year-old. Because I'm nice.
We failed to take a picture of the assembled, but unadorned houses. We were in a hurry because our kids were sitting there ready to decorate.
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 about 1 T butter, with about 1-2 C powdered sugar and then added milk by the 1/2 tsp until it was good and thick--apparently we failed to get a picture of that too. 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.
Then we let the kids have at it and decorate them.
Posted by The Tasty Cheapskate