Sponsored by: M&T Bank
Written by: Amelia Schrader
Senior Manager of Learning and Education
Approx. 2 cups of confectioners (powder) sugar
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1 egg white
Zip lock bag
Twist tie or tape
1 bag of royal icing
Other candies as desired
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Build Time: 20 minutes +
Arts Science Math
Happy Easter, everyone! While I know this year many of us are not celebrating with our full group of loved ones as normal but I truly hope you are all enjoying the time you have together with the loved ones in your homes. Every Easter in my family we do an activity challenge – these have ranged from art projects, timed puzzle making and cookie decorating. This year I am challenging all of you to a ‘Peep House’ Building Competition!
This activity is based on our winter time tradition of Graham Cracker House building. Follow the instructions below to get started. As with any food lesson, make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water before beginning this lesson. Make sure you share pictures of your completed constructions on our Facebook page.
Step 1: Make your royal icing. You will need approximately 2 cups of confectioners (powder) sugar, 1 egg white and ¼ tsp. of cream of tartar. 1. Place your egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the egg white until you have loose peaks. I highly recommend using an electric mixer, while you can accomplish this by hand it will take a long time and be very tiresome.
2. Add in the ¼ tsp. cream of tartar and beat for about 30 more seconds. 3. Slowly add in the 2 cups of confectioners sugar. I say approximately for this recipe because it really depends on the size of your egg white. Continually beat the mixture on high until very stiff peaks are formed. Once you think you are done, beat it for another minute! You need very stiff icing for this construction challenge.
4. Take your plastic bag and turn it inside out. Form a circle with your thumb and first finger and put the tip of the plastic bag inside this circle. Carefully fill the bag with the royal icing, avoiding the sides of the bag when possible.
5. Use a twist tie (or tape if you don’t have a twist tie) to close the bag at the top of the icing blob. You are now ready to start construction on your “Peep House”! I highly recommend washing your bowl and beaters immediately. This icing really does become as hard a cement once it dries. For our normal graham cracker royal icing recipe, we use powdered egg whites, however most people do not have these at home so I have modified the recipe for home use. This recipe will make between 2-3 houses depending on how much decoration icing you or your child uses.
Step 2: Now it is time to build! The royal icing you just made will act as the cement, holding your “Peep House” together. Cut a small slit in the corner of the bag to use the icing. I recommend squeezing a toothpaste size amount on each side of your graham cracker.
For my house, I used 5 graham cracker halves but you can use as many as you want! I started with three walls making sure to ice the bottom of the graham cracker to the plate. Then I added my roof.
Step 3: Decoration time! Use your candies and extra royal icing to decorate your “Peep House”! My favorite Easter time candy is mini Cadbury eggs so I made sure to incorporate them into my design. Just make sure you leave enough room inside your house for your peep!
· Decorate the roof of your house last! This gives the icing more time to dry and you house will be less likely to fall down.
· Color small batches of your royal icing! You can make green for grass or other colors to represent eggs, flowers etc.
Step 4: (Optional) Have each member of your family build a house then have a competition on who’s is the best! Your categories could be: strongest house, most colorful, best use of icing etc. Anything you want! You do not have to make this a contest you can simply put the houses on display to enjoy until you gobble them up!
· Construction: to build something; typically a large structure
· Engineering: a branch of science and technology concerned with design of a structure