We’ll be the first to admit these aren’t the easiest gingerbread houses on the market, but they are the most beautiful. The idea was to construct holiday houses without actually having to bake anything. Gingerbread that’s sturdy enough to build with is never tender and delicious to eat. So we skipped the cookies altogether in favor of pre-fab structural elements. The bonus? They already have straight edges! For those of you who’ve tried to raise a wonky side of a gingerbread house, you know what a luxury symmetry can be.

By Real Simple
Updated December 16, 2016

From nonpareils to peppermint sticks, we raided the candy drawer for the sweetest tiles and paneling this side of Candy Land. Wafer cookies make a charming Cape Cod-style cottage, while pretzel rods and oatmeal cereal squares form a cozy log cabin. There’s a Kit-Kat Colonial, as well as a Nutter Butter-built Tudor. Whatever your dream home, we’ve got the edible house to match.

A few tips to ensure structural integrity for all of the houses: Keep the icing in a piping bag with the large end secured with a rubber band and the tip wrapped in a damp paper towel to prevent the icing from hardening. We’ve provided printable templates for each house so all you have to do is trace the patterns onto a large piece of parchment paper and assemble each piece on a flat surface. Allow the pieces time to dry completely before assembling the finished house. Use soup cans to hold things in place while the icing dries.

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