I have so many fond memories of making gingerbread houses. That was my family’s thing around Christmas!
And it wasn’t just a quint family thing, my mom blew it out and would invite all of our teachers from school and their families, plus other family friends. She would serve ribs and have tables set up everywhere with ready-to-decorate gingerbread houses. Bowls of candy would line the tables, plus frosting containers with these cute mini spreaders and of course washcloths for sticky fingers.
We’d do this every year. As we got older, the tradition changed a bit (no more ribs, haha) and now the decorating tables are filled with my nieces and nephews.
Since Ryan and I live out of the state from the rest of my family, it’s definitely something I miss doing so when Diamond of California asked me to make a gingerbread house I was like YES!!!!
I like to think I am kind of a gingerbread house pro. But, I owe that all to my mom! I learned how to make a gingerbread house out of an empty butter box and graham crackers from her and that’s the method I used for this nutty house.
Other people use those small milk cartons, but everyone buys butter so butter boxes are easy to come by! We’re also sharing the perfect recipe for gingerbread house ‘glue’. This stuff is like cement in the gingerbread people world.
We’ve included a few images of the house building process. I still like to build the house structure a day ahead of time, so the glue has time to harden, ensuring that the house is nice and sturdy for decorating, just like my mom did.
Once you’re ready to decorate, pick a large flat surface to glue the house to. Now we’re ready for the best part!!
I used pine nuts as stone for the siding on the house and used pecans as shingles for the roof. To jazz up the stones I used a paintbrush and a little bit of brown gel food coloring to paint some of them a darker shade.
I used cashew halves to make round windows on the back of the house.
The sidewalk is made with finely diced walnuts with larger walnut pieces lining the sides.
I added 2 pistachio pine trees – made of just frosting and pistachios! I love how those turned out! Plus there’s a super blobby snowman sitting in the front yard made out of frosting. The whole yard and snowman are sprinkled with white sanding sugar to add a snowy glisten effect.
There’s a cute fire pit made out of broken pretzel pieces, almond slices and some red, yellow, and orange sprinkles.
I loved using nuts to decorate the house, it gave the whole thing a more rustic vibe. I created this recipe in partnership with Diamond of California. Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me to share recipes with you!
Not only are gingerbread houses fun to make, they’re fun to display! Mine is sitting on a shelf in our living room – hopefully Salsa, our cat, won’t get too curious!
Nutty Gingerbread House
A rustic christmas gingerbread house made using nuts! Learn how to make a gingerbread house out of a butter box, plus tons of decorating ideas and the best gingerbread ‘glue’!
- Empty butter box, per house
- 6 graham crackers, per house
- Gingerbread 'glue' *see recipe below
- Diamond of California pine nuts
- Diamond of California shelled pecans
- Diamond of California finely diced walnuts and chopped walnuts
- Diamond of California sliced almonds
- Diamond of California pistachios
- Diamond of Diamond of California cashews
- Diamond of California whole almonds
- Pretzel sticks
- Additional: cotton ball for smoke, fire colored sprinkles, sprinkles to decorate snowman, brown food coloring, sanding sugar to give the 'snow' a sparkly feel
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp meringue powder
- 4-5 tbsp water, start with less to see if the consistency is right
- In a mixing bowl combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and 4 tbsp of water. Use an electric mixer to beat the icing until smooth. Add more water, if needed, however you don't have the frosting to be runny, you want it to be thick but sticky.
- Cover the front and back sides of the butter box (the long sides) with a full graham cracker. Use 'glue' to secure.
- Cover the left and right ends with a half graham cracker. Use 'glue' to secure.
- Use 2 full graham crackers to create a triangle roof, secure with 'glue'. Cut 2 triangle graham crackers and secure on the ends of roof.
- Allow the gingerbread house to set, so the glue has time to harden, ensuring that the house is nice and sturdy for decorating. You could make the houses in a few days in advance.
- Secure the house to a sturdy, flat surface.
- Add pine nut 'stones' to all 4 sides of the house, working one side at a time so the 'glue' doesn't dry out. Use pretzel sticks to create a front door. Add a nut door handle. Create round windows using cashews on the back of the house.
- Use a paintbrush and a very small amount of brown gel food coloring to paint some of the pine nut stones a darker color.
- Add pecan 'shingles' to the roof. Start at the bottom of the roof and work your way to the top, so the shingles are slightly layered on top of each other.
- Add pretzel window detailing on the 2 triangle shaped graham crackers that are on the ends of the roof.
- Layer pecans on top of each other to create a chimney. Add a wisp of smoke from a cotton ball.
- Use finely diced walnuts to create a side walk. Line the edges of the side walk with larger walnut pieces.
- Create pistachio pine trees by layering pistachios and frosting until you get your desired shape of a tree.
- Form 3 balls from the frosting/glue to create a snowman. Using sprinkles, add a carrot nose, eyes, and stick arms.
- Use whole almonds to add a stack of almond 'logs'.
- Use broken pretzel sticks, a few almond slices, and red, yellow and orange sprinkles to create a fire pit.
- Finish filling in the yard with 'snow', sprinkle with white sanding sugar to give the effect of sparkly snow.