Pass the Cheese and Cracker House

The holidays are filled with snowmen, cookies and, of course, gingerbread houses. At The Kitchen, we like to do things a little differently, so this year we're making a savory version of this holiday classic--it's The Kitchen's Cheese and Cracker House.

Cheese and Cracker House

You will need:

  • Firm cheeseball mixture
  • Rectangular plastic container
  • Plastic wrap
  • Serving platter or board
  • Whipped cream cheese
  • Small rectangular cracker
  • Can of spray cheese
  • Roasted or dried chickpeas or corn nuts
  • Serrated knife
  • Breadsticks (cracker style)
  • Loaf of unsliced bread
  • 6 large rectangular crackers
  • Pretzel grids
  • Paring knife
  • 2-inch long rectangle of cheese
  • Pepperoni slices
  • Piping bag
  • Parmesan
  • Mini mozzarella balls (bocconcini)
  • Black olives
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Toothpicks
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Beef Jerky
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Green rubber bands
  • Mushroom caps

Step 1: Build a Strong Foundation

Every good home starts with a strong foundation--this house also has a cheesy one! We used a firm cheese ball recipe to give the house a stable base. To do this: line a rectangular plastic container with plastic wrap and pack in the cheeseball mixture. Chill until firm. Then, pull up on the plastic wrap to help release it from its mold. Place the cheese base on a serving platter or board that has already been spread with cream cheese all across the bottom to look like snow.

Next, you'll need to center a small rectangular cracker on the long side of the cheese base. Use spray cheese to glue it on as the door. Use the spray cheese to add a chickpea doorknob.

Use a serrated knife to cut breadsticks (for best results, saw through slowly) into 2 pieces that will fit on either side of the door. Use this same method to cut logs for the sides. Use spray cheese to adhere the breadstick logs all the way up all sides of the house--use whole breadsticks for the back, cut breadsticks for the sides and use cut and whole breadsticks for the front, around the door.

Step 2: Make the Roof, Windows and Chimney

Use a serrated knife to diagonally cut the top portion of a loaf of unsliced bread into the triangle shape of the roof. Then place the roof-shaped bread onto the top of the cheese base. Use the spray cheese to adhere 3 large rectangular crackers to the front and the back of the bread roof, starting with the center one and working out to ensure even overhang. Next, use cut breadsticks to fill in the side of the roof.

Use spray cheese to adhere pretzel grids as windows on either side of the door and to fill in a diamond-shaped window on each side where the siding meets the roof.

To make the chimney, use a paring knife to notch out a chunk of cheese on the bottom of a 2-inch rectangle of cheese. It should fit the angle of the bread roof. Use spray cheese to adhere the cheese chimney to the roof. For the shingles, add pepperoni rounds to the roof using the spray cheese to adhere each slice. Start at the bottom, adhere all the way across and then work your way up, slightly overlapping each row.

Step 3: Landscaping Touches for Curb Appeal

You can use chickpeas or corn nuts to make an inviting walkway by sticking them onto the cream cheese snow on the base of the platter. Use a piping bag filled with whipped cream cheese to pipe snow onto the roof of the house. For the effect of freshly fallen snow, sprinkle finely grated Parmesan cheese onto the whipped cream cheese. To take things over the top, add snowmen made of mozzarella balls, black olive hats and pretzel stick arms--all held together with a toothpick. The finishing touch on our house is an optional wreath made from thyme--simply twist a couple sprigs in circles until they form a wreath and wrap it to itself to stay in place; adhere it with spray cheese.

We also used beef jerky and rosemary to create pine trees! Just trim the beef jerky to your desired trunk length and use a green rubber band to tie a few sprigs of rosemary to the top of the jerky so that it overhangs the jerky like pine would hang over its trunk. We then cut a handful of thyme sprigs into 1 1/2-inch pieces and stuffed them into mushroom caps to make bushes.

Home sweet homeā€¦ before it's devoured!