How to Make Graham Cracker Beach Huts

What does gingerbread-house expert and winner of Haunted Gingerbread Showdown, Steve Konopelski, do in summer? Take a look!

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After pastry chef Steve Konopelski took home the $25,000 grand prize for his gingerbread construction skills in last fall’s Haunted Gingerbread Showdown, he put the money toward a real-life building project: a new roof for a bed-and-breakfast he and his husband own in Denton, MD. He also treated himself to a getaway to Mexico, a trip that inspired him to build these colorful candy-coated huts. “I got into a vacationy mood while I was putting this together,” says Steve. “It’s like I extended my trip with candy!” Try making some yourself: It’s a great project for a summer day!

Use a small serrated knife to trim 8 graham crackers so that the top one-quarter comes to a point (A). Cut off a one-quarter rectangle from 10 more graham crackers (B). Save 4 of the quarters (C). Cut off one-quarter from 2 more crackers, then cut the big pieces in half lengthwise — you'll need 3 of these narrow pieces (D).

Arrange 4 whole graham crackers side by side, placing each about a quarter-cracker length in front of the other as shown; attach with white candy melts. Attach an (A) piece to the back edge of each cracker and use 2 (B) pieces to form the sides of each. Hold each piece in place until it is secure.

Attach the remaining 4 (A) crackers onto the fronts. Use the 3 (D) pieces to fill in the gaps between the front walls and the sides. Let the candy melts set completely.

Make the foundation: Arrange 12 Rice Krispies Treats in the shape of the base of the huts, trimming as needed. Spread white candy melts on top of the treats and carefully place the graham structure on top.

Working on a small area at a time, spread white candy melts on the outside of the huts, then cover completely with red SweeTarts Ropes, blue Airheads, orange gum and green licorice, trimming to fit.

Make the roofs: Attach a whole graham cracker for the 2 outermost roof panels using candy melts. Trim 6 more graham crackers lengthwise for the remaining panels; attach. Pull apart the pink wafer cookies into thinner pieces, then shingle them onto the roofs, attaching with candy melts.

Make the stairs: Trim 4 Rice Krispies Treats to the same size as the (C) graham cracker pieces. Attach a (C) piece to each Treat with candy melts and place one in front of each hut. Arrange 3 Kit Kats upside down in front of each to look like steps.

Make the doors: Attach 4 sour Starburst Minis to each of the 4 vanilla tea cookies. Attach the cookies to the huts. Trim the fruit roll to make 4 welcome mats. Attach pretzel snaps to the sides of the huts and steps.

Make the palm trees: Pipe about 10 three-inch-long leaves onto parchment with melted green candy melts. Let the leaves set completely.

Stack 8 to 10 Rolos next to the huts, securing each with brown candy melts; attach an unmelted green candy melt to the top. Once the trunk is set, attach the leaves using melted green candy melts. Repeat to make another tree.

Cut the Froot Loops in half; attach them to the top of the roofs. Sprinkle the ground wafer cookies all over the surface to look like sand.

Photographs by Ralph Smith