To anyone who’s tried to make a gingerbread house from homemade cookies, I salute you. To anyone who’s resorted to glueing graham crackers to a milk carton after failing at trying to make a gingerbread house, I’m right there with you. This year, however, there will be no crumbling gingerbread, because this year, a Pop Tart house will be the centerpiece of your holiday table.
Here’s how to set up a Pop Tart house-making party: Buy as many boxes of Pop Tarts as you plan to make houses (you’ll need one box per house, plus maybe a few extras in case of mistakes, or if someone wants to make a mansion). Next, make a huge batch of super-sturdy icing—bakers will recognize it as essentially Royal icing, which hardens as it sets thanks to whipped egg whites (here we’ve used meringue powder). Gather up all the colorful cereal you can find, as well as bag of shredded coconut for snow. Stick Pop Tarts to the cut out box, then adorn with snacks.
Pop Tart Haus
- Yields: 1 Pop Tart house
- Hands-On Time: 3 hours
- Total Time: 11 hours
Prepare the Royal Icing: Add sugar and meringue powder to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat on low until incorporated, about 1 minute. While machine is running on low, slowly add water until desired stiff, spackle-like texture is achieved.
Use Royal Icing to hold edges of toaster pastries together in the shape of a house, starting with 4 sides for walls, then 2 for an open gable roof. Cut 2 pastries in triangles to fill gaps below the roof; use more icing, as you would mortar, to hold the structure together. Let dry at room temperature overnight.
Decorate the cottage with assorted cereals, cookies, and candies, creating a chimney, door, and siding, if desired. Use more cereal to create a landscape, if desired.