These Valentine's Day Cookie Cottages Are the Most Adorable Project to Make with Kids
For a sweet table decoration or fun playdate or party activity, you can't go wrong with Valentine's Day cookie cottages. Crafter Jodi Levine of Super Make It first created cookie cottages for her book Candy Aisle Crafts ($21.15, amazon.com), but this is the 2.0 version. Like the original, it starts with store-bought graham crackers, Levine says, "So you can skip the baking and jump quickly to the fun part, decorating!" And that's not her only smart shortcut. "Everything you need can be found at the supermarket or in your kitchen."
These Valentine's Day cookie cottages are both fun and easy to make, but Levine also says they're also "a great way to use up leftover holiday candy like peppermint swirls and candy canes as well any extra classic Valentine candies. Large sprinkles or cinnamon candies are perfect for doorknobs." Ahead, she shares the step-by-step guide to crafting one of these adorable cottages with your little ones.
What You Need for Each House
- Four graham crackers, honey or chocolate
- Serrated knife
- Cutting board
- Royal icing (recipe below)
- Piece of scrap cardboard (at least 4 x 4 inches)
- Small jar or can (like a spice jar)
- Assorted candies and sprinkles for decorations
How to Make a Valentine's Day Cookie House
To cut the graham crackers, use a serrated knife and a very light sawing motion with almost no downward pressure. On one graham cracker, cut off about ¼-inch of the height, and then cut from the top center diagonally to the center line on both sides to form a peaked piece. Use the first peaked piece as a template for cutting a second peaked piece. Cut the remaining two graham crackers in half. Two will be used for the side walls and two for the roof.
Pipe a thin line of icing on the bottom of one square wall (make sure that the graham cracker perforations are going vertically on the square walls and roof pieces) and stick it onto one side of the cardboard. Use the small jar to hold up this first wall. Affix one of the peaked pieces to the square wall piece by piping a thin line of icing along the bottom and the side edge of the peaked piece. Attach the peaked piece just inside the edge of the square wall. Repeat with the other peaked piece to attach to the other side of the square side wall. (Remove the jar when set.) Pipe icing on the side edges of the remaining peaked piece. Pipe a thin line of icing on the bottom of the last square wall ands tuck it between the two peaked pieces.
Now it's time to decorate the roof. With the graham cracker perforations going horizontally, pipe a line of icing along the bottom edge of one of the roof crackers. Adhere a row of bottom "tiles" first, like Necco Wafers or strips of sour belt candy. Pipe another line above that row of tiles and let those candies overlap the first row. Repeat until the roof is covered. Repeat the process to make a second roof piece. Let them dry for about 15 minutes.
Attach the roof by piping icing along the top edges of the wall and peaked pieces and setting the roof pieces on top. Cover the top seam by gluing on additional candy with icing, if you'd like.
With the icing, glue on a door, attic window, and other embellishments.
- 1 pound (one box or 3 1/2 cups) confections' sugar
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 4 tablespoons pasteurized egg whites (sold in cartons in the dairy section of the supermarket)
- 3 tablespoons water
- Sandwich-size resealable plastic bag for piping or a piping bag and small round tip
- Small juice glass
- Rubber band or twist tie (for making a piping bag from the sandwich bag)
In a medium mixing bowl, mix the confections' sugar and cream of tartar and then mix in the egg whites. The consistency should be slightly looser than toothpaste. If the icing is too thick, add water very slowly, just a few drops at a time. If you lift a spoon and drizzle it back into the bowl, it should take about 20 seconds to smooth out.
To make a piping bag, put one corner of the resealable plastic bag in a small juice glass. Pull the rest of the bag over the sides of the glass. Fill the bag with about a cup of icing. Twist the bag closed in your hands, tightly cinch it with the rubber band or twist tie, and seal the bag closed. Cut the tiniest hole off the corner of the bag with scissors. Try to squeeze out some icing to see if the hole is big enough and cut it a bit more if needed.