As pretty as they are, I've always thought gingerbread houses were one of those fairy tale parts of the holidays reserved for people with too much time on their hands. Fortunately, for the rest of us, there is hope. 

Dec Cover

Here's a no-bake gingerbread house so goody goody gumdrops, it might have even fooled fair Hansel and Gretel. 


Even better, you don't need a paycheck and a week's worth of time to do it.   


To start, place a paper mache house on scrap paper, separating top from bottom, then coat with brown spray paint. While it dries, eat some gingerbread, just for effect.    


Next, mix up a batch of royal icing, grab a piping bag, then pipe around the outsides of all the windows and doors.


Now dip a spatula or butter knife into the icing and spread a layer on the roof about ¼"-thick. 


For the last step, press candy pieces like peppermints and gumdrops into icing as desired. If it starts to harden, add another layer.   


And when it's all done, when the fairy tale's complete and your kids are looking up at you with adoration in their eyes, make sure you congratulate yourself on a job well done…  


…and a lot of time saved doing it!