Recipes, project instructions and photos used with permission of Christina Banner, author of How To Build A Gingerbread House: A Step-By-Step Guide to Sweet Results (Penny Publishing). For additional ideas from Christina Banner, visit her website: www.gingerbreadbuilding.com
Prepare Blonde Gingerbread Dough. Reserve 1/2 cup dough for crab. Roll out remaining dough 1/4 in. thick; using patterns cut 4 wall pieces and one 7 in. square roof piece; arrange on cookie sheets. Cut door opening out of one wall piece. Bake at 325°F 20-25 minutes. Cool completely.
Spatula ice cooled gingerbread house pieces, ice cream cones and sugar cubes with royal icing; immediately sprinkle with granulated brown sugar. Set aside and allow to dry completely.
Knead red icing color into reserved 1/2 cup gingerbread dough. For crab body, roll about 3 tablespoons dough into a ball; flatten to about 1 in. thick. Place on cookie sheet. Roll out remaining red dough 1/4 in. thick. Cut out 2 crab claws using pattern; place on cookie sheet with body. Bake at 325°F 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F; bake an additional 8-10 minutes until claws are baked but not browned. Remove claws from baking sheet. Return crab body to oven; bake an additional 15-20 minutes until body is firm. Cool all pieces completely, at least 4 hours.
On foil-covered plywood, assemble the four side walls, piping royal icing on base as well as where wall pieces join together; add additional royal icing on corners and along the inside walls at the bottom as needed. Prop walls with cans or bottles until dry. Allow at least 8 hours to dry before adding roof to sandcastle. Dry assembled house completely before decorating.
Attach “sanded” sugar cubes around the top of the sandcastle and on the top edge of walls using royal icing. Attach colored fruit chew candies, white mint chew candies and prepared sugar cubes to house corners with icing. Add additional chew candies to top edge of each wall, just below sugar cubes. Attach sugared ice cream cones, candy accents and “sanded” sugar cubes to top of sandcastle.
Attach a row of sugar cubes on each side of front door opening with royal icing, creating a diagonal row to the edge of the board. Attach second row of sugar cubes on top of first row. Insert crab body into doorway; attach legs to crab body, resting claw portion against fence.
Spatula ice base with royal icing; attach flat wafer candy walkway between fences; sprinkle brown sugar into areas between candy, pressing lightly. Sprinkle remainder of base with brown sugar. Attach candy seashells around castle.