Here’s a Domerama alternative to the traditional gingerbread house: the Yummy Yuletide Yurt. How often can you eat your mistakes and claim your construction site generates zero waste?
A yurt, a.k.a a ger, is a traditional shelter structure used by Mongolian nomads for at least the last 1000 years. It can be transported and installed almost anywhere. Nomads still use this type of house these days and they are becoming very popular as housing in many nature parks around the globe.
This edible yurt is 40 inches in circumference, about 13 inches in diameter and 10 inches tall. It easily sits on a standard foam board.
There are many, many ways to make an edible yurt; you can change how you build your lattice, swap out materials, even change how the roof is built. Our aim is to show that it can be done in different ways.
What you will need:
The ingredients and supplies are easily available:
- Bag of miniature marshmallows
- Icing sugar (4-6 pounds)
- Egg whites (a dozen)
- Long, round coffee wafers sticks (2 boxes or 35-40 sticks minimum because some will break)
- Assorted candies and edible decorations
- 4 X cardboard sheets (bristol board is preferred, and thicker is better)
- Aluminum foil wrap
- Foam board (to use as the base)
Step 1: making a base for the yurt
This step is simple: wrap the foam board with aluminum foil. The board will be the base for your yurt. The yurt with the roof is about 20 inches wide, so the typical piece of foam board, available in many stores, can support the weight of the complete yurt.
Step 2: making the basic yurt shape
Take two (2) sheets of cardboard and cut 5 1/2″ strips from the bristol board (cardboard). A standard sheet will give you exactly 4 strips, so two sheets gives 8 strips. Staple or tape all strips one after another.
- When you are done, draw a 40″ line from the start of the strip, 1 inch from the edge.
- Along that line, draw a mark at every 2.5 inches.
- Make a hole at each 2.5 inch mark you just made. The hole should go across all layers of cardboard. Use a skewer or anything with a sharp tip.
- When you are done making the holes, staple or tape the strip to make a 40-inch circle. Wrap the rest of the strip around the circle.
Now wrap the exterior of the circle with aluminum foil. You will need to take the skewer you just used to make the holes and do them again through the other layers you wrapped around the circle. The first set of holes was to have a a marker you could feel even if covered with foil. The second set must go through all layers.
Step 3: Making the yurt lattice
The lattice is made from coffee wafer sticks which are pretty easy to find. The ones used in this project were 7.5 inches long.
If you use longer or shorter coffee wafer sticks: you need to re-size the strip width, or rather the height of your wall (strip). This is very simple to do: take two wafers and decide on how tilted you want the sticks, then measure the new height and cut the strips.
Step 4: making holes through the wafer sticks
A toothpick will be inserted into 2 wafer sticks, then through the yurt wall. To make the holes into the sticks you need to take a toothpick with a sharp tip, then slowly “drill” through the stick at 1 inch from the tip. Do this 32 times.
Step 5: Assembling the yurt’s lattice
You have 16 holes around the yurt wall, and each of these holes will have a toothpick through the wall holding 2 wafer sticks.
Before you put on the wafer sticks on the wall, you may want to make a batch of icing mortar.
Recipe for Royal icing/mortar:
- 1 large egg white
- 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
The recipe above is a typical one; you will probably use more sugar for the texture you need.
When your mortar is ready, position your yurt wall on the base and apply mortar all around the wall and at its base. If you have some left over, use it on the base to create a landscape.
You need to be consistent in assembly. There are two layers of sticks to add to the wall. One set points one way, the other points in the other direction. It does not matter which set points where as long as the same set has its stick pointing in the same direction. In between each stick, apply a little mortar.
NOTE: TOOTHPICKS CAN BE REMOVED IF YOU USE ICING MORTAR TO ATTACH THE STICKS TO THE WALL
At each end of each toothpick use one small marshmallow to hold things together as they dry.
Step 6: make the yurt roof
This one is something you probably made when you were a kid: A cone made of thick cardboard, a low-profile version similar to a traditional Chinese hat.
Draw a circle 20 inches in diameter, cut a slit from the edge to the center, then tape or staple when you decide on the height of the roof (this depends on how much overlap you have).
NOTE: a typical sheet of cardboard (a.k.a bristol board) is probably not thick enough to hold up icing and candies, so just make 2 roofs and tape them together.
When your roof is assembled, cover the top with aluminum foil. When that is done, put a layer of icing on the top surface.
Step 7: final touches
Before putting the roof on the yurt make sure the icing between the coffee sticks and around the yurt wall are fully dry. The thickness of the walls will support the weight of the icing and candy placed on the roof.
Make an additional batch of icing to fix and improve the overall look and to attach additional candy if needed.