I’m SO excited to share this post with you guys! Did I say that yesterday too? Well, this year I am sharing a bunch of really fun holiday things that mean a lot to me. You know, like wine cake and such. Because cake with wine is VERY exciting. And today I’m sharing these awesome candy bar trains! This is something me mom made when we were growing up. And while I don’t remember making my own, I think these are the PERFECT alternative to gingerbread houses. Gingerbread houses can be so hard!!! Unless you glue gun the walls together, they often collapse and seem a bit fragile. But these trains are a little bit easier and such a fun idea for families to do together at the holidays.
When I told my mom that I wanted to do a post on her trains, she searched her archives and came up with these written instructions for how she made them including a supply list. And then she left on a cruise. So I poured over her instructions and started gathering materials. And then got busy and put off making the actual train. And weeks later, my mom was back in town and I was finally ready to take photos of the candy bar train making process. So I invited her over to help me put it all together! I love having my mom help with posts! We pretty much followed her instructions this first go round but I can’t wait to make more and really get creative!
We got everything together and did a little mock-up before starting glueing things together with the royal icing. In doing so, we learned that candy has changed a bit since she first made these. Some things are larger and some things are smaller. Feel free to use whatever candies you think are best and please you, aesthetically. Also, she used to make a train track out of thin black licorice laces. I couldn’t find those anywhere! I also had a hard time finding rolls of Lifesavers (which we didn’t end up using anyway) and the larger Tootsie Rolls which make perfect logs. I feel like you can’t go wrong by buying the candy that looks fun to you and then see what you come up with. And if you have kids, the extra candy certainly isn’t going to go to waste…
We made (I say we, but really my mom made it) royal icing which would act as the glue to hold the train together. We probably could have used a little less of the icing but we wanted to make sure that things stuck really well.
A few years ago my mom gave me her tin of vintage miniatures that she used for her trains and a few other food crafts she made. So many memories in that tin! It was awesome to go through and remember all the old plastic figures and show them to my kids.
Our second train car holds a bunch of presents and toys and the final car is the log car. It dawned on me that it would have probably looked a little bit more like logs if we stacked another row in the center and on top of the bottom row. But it’s been probably 30 years since we’ve seen one of these trains so…we forgot. I just love how it came out!
And of course we added edible glitter to have even more of a snow-like look although it is pretty hard to see. Like gingerbread houses, these are edible, but since all of the candy has been manhandled I wouldn’t recommend eating them. My kids asked so incessantly that I finally said they could eat their cars. Turns out all the different flavors of candy don’t taste that great together. So they stopped eating them instead of picking the candy off individually…dummies. (Yes I just called my kids dummies. But as a joke. That is kind of ironic. Especially since my 3rd grader had to go ask his teacher how to do one of his homework math problems since I couldn’t figure it out…)
When my youngest son got home from school he skipped lunch (truth be told he had candy for lunch) to make his train. He was so excited! He’s almost 6 and this was really easy for him. Where we had used a piping bag and decorating tip, we gave him a little paint brush to use with the royal icing and it worked really well. In hindsight, we probably would have had a cleaner look if we had used the paintbrush.
This would be a super fun idea for a family holiday party. I had only bought 6 of the large candy bars but the candy used to decorate was very plentiful. I could have made a ton of train cars by just picking up a few more Snickers bars, which is what we’ve always used. I guess you could use a different kind. But you would ruin Christmas…so…
We ended up having a last-minute playdate after school that day so my older son and his friend decided to make them too. Turns out, with a little imagination, your train car can be a sports car. And a new tradition may be born.
Here is a very general list of what you might need to make a candy bar train with 3 cars like I’ve made above:
Large Snickers bars for the train cars (so 3 Snickers bars for the full train I made)
Fun Size Snickers bar for the front car
14 Peppermint candies for the wheels (note: the first car has 2 extra wheels – and they probably aren’t called wheels are they…)
1 gummy fruit slice for the corn catcher at the front of the train
4 Werther’s or several Lifesavers for the front of the train car
1 JUJU Bee for the light on the very front of the train
1 Gum Drop for the front train car
1 Lifesaver and 1 Rolo for the smoke stack on the first train car
Thin licorice laces to connect the train cars. Can also be used for the train tracks if you decide to add them to your cake board
14 M&M’s for decoration on the wheels
Several Tootsie Rolls for the log car. The full size work best but you can also stack the Midgees if you can’t find the regular ones.
White edible glitter for snow
Royal Icing and a pastry bag and tips. You can also use a smallish paintbrush instead or if you have a young child where a pastry bag might be too hard to manage.
Tweezers might also come in handy (if you want to be all type-a about it)
To make Royal Icing:
3 level TBSP Meringue Powder
4 cups powdered sugar
6 TBSP water
Put all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a mixer for 7 to 10 minutes.
If you make one share it with me on instagram!!!! Tag me at @cupcakescutlery and use the #cupcakesandcandytrains