Pop Tart Gingerbread House

A super simple and nontraditional way to make “gingerbread” houses this Christmas. The holiday season can be soooo busy and sometimes you just want to do something fun without all the hard work. Insert, Pop Tart Gingerbread House!

Why use Pop Tarts for a “gingerbread” house

This may be a little bit weird to think of using pop tarts as a base for a gingerbread house but hear me out. Typically I’m all for “make from scratch” because the truth is, store bought things usually have extra ingredients that we don’t even know what they are. That said, I DO NOT make everything we eat from scratch, I do occasionally buy premade pie crusts and pizza dough and there is always a generous supply of bread and bagels in this house. 

However, gingerbread houses never get eaten, at least not in my house. They’ve all been touched and smeared with overly sweet icing and toppings and the cookies are all dried out. If we’re not decorating gingerbread houses, it’s probably because I don’t feel like baking them SO hence the pop tarts. They make a phenomenal base, not one has fallen over or broken (and I’ve made a few already). 

The first time I made this, I totally forgot the chimney. So if you want to keep it even simpler, you can just skip that part too, it won’t look all too bad lol. The first time I also toasted the pop tarts to give it some more color but it didn’t do too much. If you want a nice contrast, I recommend using chocolate pop tarts.

What you need to make a pop tart gingerbread house

The best part about using pop tarts to make a “gingerbread” house is that the base of the recipe is already done so you really only need the ingredients for the icing and whatever toppings you want to put on top. 

There are different types of icings you can use, even store bought if you want, but I like to use royal icing because it dries so quickly. The quicker the base dries, the less likely it is to topple over and the cleaner the overall look will be.

Ingredients for Royal Icing:

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Meringue Powder
  • Water

To make the icing, you literally just whip all of those together until they’re nice and fluffy. Yup, it’s that easy. You can find meringue powder at just about any grocery or craft store. I usually use the wilton brand

If you do accidentally add too much water to the icing and it’s too runny, you can just add more powdered sugar. Obviously if you have to double the amount, then just add another tablespoon of meringue powder too!

How to put a pop tart gingerbread house together

This is much easier than you think it is and I took pictures of every single step. You might look at all the pictures and get intimidated but I promise it’s so simple, just keep an open mind. 

1. Gather your ingredients and tools

You’ll need 7 pop tarts, a knife, royal icing, a size 3 or 4 plain round piping tip and bag and plate/board to put it on.

2. Trim the pop tarts

Trim 2 pop tarts for the front and back (1 & 2) of the house to have a triangle on top. Discard the pieces you cut off. For the 2 sides (3 & 4) of the house, make sure the height matches up with the height of the front and back of the house that you trimmed. The 2 roofs (5 & 6) stay whole and the chimney (7) is hard to describe so look at the picture. The chimney doesn’t have to be perfect because you will trim it again to be flush with the roof of the house when you’re ready to stick it on.

3. Assemble the house

Pipe the icing on the SIDES of pop tart 1 & 2, the front and back of the house. Stick pop tarts 3 & 4, the sides of the house, to the piped icing. Pipe more icing on top of the whole house to stick on pop tarts 5 & 6, the roof of the house.

4. Assemble the roof

Stick on pop tart 5, one roof, and pipe a line of icing on the top edge to connect pop tart 6, the other roof. Reinforce the whole house with extra icing all around.

5. Trim and Assemble the Chimney

You can see that the chimney may not fit properly so just go ahead and trim it down the back piece to make it fit and look right. Then make the front counterpart identical to that piece and the make sure the height of the sides of the chimney match the height of the front and back of the chimney.

Pipe the icing on the bottom of each piece and on the sides of the sides of the chimney. Stick them all onto the top of the house, towards the back and then reinforce with more icing all around.

6. Trim and Assemble the Front Door

You should have some long, thin scraps from pop tarts 3 &4, the sides of the house. Trim the height down to make a front door. Pipe icing on the back of the pieces and stick them to the front of your house.

7. Make the front pathway

Cut little pieces of chocolate, I used ruby chocolate, to make a little pathway in front of the house. Then pipe icing around the pathway to resemble snow. I added a touch of sparkly clear sprinkles.

8. Decorate the Pop Tart Gingerbread House

To decorate the pop tart gingerbread house, I just piped “snow” all around the edges of my house and sprinkled on some more that clear sparkly sprinkles. I used the same icing consistency and piping tip as before. If you want to make intricate little designs on the roof or pipe on a window, etc. you can change your piping tip down to size 1-2.

To make the wreath, smash down a mini marshmallow until it’s as flat as it gets. Pipe a ring of icing around the edge and then dip it into a bowl of sprinkles. Chop down some candy canes and pipe a little snow on top of them and sprinkle some crushed candy canes around the path. I added some frosted animal crackers too.

After I was done with everything, I added 1 teaspoon of water to my leftover icing and dumped it around the rest of the house.

More ways decorate a gingerbread house

If you can’t tell, I have this problem where I’m scared to decorate past frosting. I do the same with my layered cakes, that’s why they’re always so simply decorated. I’m not scared in the sense that I’ll mess up, it’s more that I love simple things and many times I think less is more and I don’t want to add more to it if I already love it. 

So basically, my gingerbread house has snow (icing), a door, a wreath, sprinkles and a front yard with some candy cane polls and animals. You can certainly add more than I did.

Some fun ideas are:

  • Use rosemary as trees and dust with powdered sugar for snow (I’m going to try this one day!).
  • Pipe intricate details on the roof.
  • Use some scraps to make windows
  • If you’re feeling fancy, cut out some windows in pop tarts 3 & 4, the sides of the house, before assembling and use isomalt to make clear “glass” windows. Then put some string lights inside.
  • Add gum drops or M&Ms or whatever other candies people like to add to gingerbread houses.
  • Use cereal like golden grahams or cinnamon toast crunch to make shingles on the roof (definitely trying this one soon too).

How to store pop tart gingerbread houses 

Honestly, like I said, no one is eating these in my house lol so we just leave them out as Christmas decor. I’ve had my first one out for about a month now and my second one has over two weeks. I placed them on a plate or board that I won’t need until after Christmas and just put them on a shelf. 

Careful not to place them near a fireplace or something like that though.

There are so many variations I wanna try and since they’re so easy to make you better bet I’m making more this Christmas season. I’ll definitely upload and share those versions too but I really wanted to get the actual “recipe” part out to you ASAP so you we can all share in on the fun.

Thanks so much for reading, if you’re making pop tart gingerbread houses this year make sure to tag me @baranbakery on instagram and show me what you did with it! As always, have a blessed day and happy decorating!

Love, B

Yield: 1 gingerbread house

Pop Tart Gingerbread House

pop tart gingerbread house

A super simple and nontraditional way to make "gingerbread" houses this Christmas. The holiday season can be soooo busy and sometimes you just want to do something fun without all the hard work. Insert, Pop Tart Gingerbread House!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 7 Pop Tarts, I used brown sugar unfrosted

Royal Icing (enough for one house)

  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) powdered sugar, spooned and leveled
  • 1 Tbsp meringue powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp water

Toppings *optional

  • chocolate
  • Sparkling Sugar
  • Sprinkles of choice
  • mini marshmallow
  • candy canes
  • frosted animal crackers

Instructions

Royal Icing

  1. Combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder in a medium or large bowl and add the 2 Tbsp of water. Use an electric mixer to beat at full speed until the icing is smooth. If it's too dry and not smooth, add the 3rd Tbsp of water.

Assemble

  1. Trim 2 pop tarts for the front and back (1 & 2) of the house to have a triangle on top. Discard the pieces you cut off.
  2. For the 2 sides (3 & 4) of the house, make sure the height matches up with the height of the front and back of the house that you trimmed.
  3. The 2 roofs (5 & 6) stay whole.
  4. The chimney (7) is hard to describe so it's best to look at the picture. Cut it in half, short wise. Then 1/3 off of each half and set those aside. The larger 2/3 of both halves, cut an inverted triangle to fit on top of the roof. The chimney doesn’t have to be perfect because you will trim it again to be flush with the roof of the house when you’re ready to stick it on. 
  5. Pipe the icing on the SIDES of pop tart 1 & 2, the front and back of the house. Stick pop tarts 3 & 4, the sides of the house, to the piped icing. Pipe more icing on top of the whole house to stick on pop tarts 5 & 6, the roof of the house. 
  6. Stick on pop tart 5, one roof, and pipe a line of icing on the top edge to connect pop tart 6, the other roof. Reinforce the whole house with extra icing all around. 
  7. You can see that the chimney may not fit properly so just go ahead and trim down the back piece to make it fit and look right. Then make the front counterpart identical to that piece and the make sure the height of the sides of the chimney match the height of the front and back of the chimney. 
  8. Pipe the icing on the bottom of each piece and on the sides of the sides of the chimney. Stick them all onto the top of the house, towards the back and then reinforce with more icing all around. 

Decorate

  1. You should have some long, thin scraps from pop tarts 3 & 4, the sides of the house. Trim the height down to make a front door. Pipe icing on the back of the pieces and stick them to the front of your house. 
  2. Cut little pieces of chocolate to make a little pathway in front of the house. Then pipe icing around the pathway to resemble snow. I added a touch of sparkly clear sprinkles. 
  3. To make the "snow" I just piped icing all around the edges of my house and sprinkled on some more that clear sparkly sprinkles. I used the same icing consistency and piping tip as before.
  4. To make the wreath, smash down a mini marshmallow until it’s as flat as it gets. Pipe a ring of icing around the edge and then dip it into a bowl of sprinkles.
  5. Chop down some candy canes and pipe a little snow on top of them and sprinkle some crushed candy canes around the path. I added some frosted animal crackers too. 
  6. After I was done with everything, I added 1 teaspoon of water to my leftover icing and dumped it around the rest of the house.
  7. Stick some candy canes and frosted animal crackers around and decorate however else you'd like!

Notes

  • If you want to make intricate little designs on the roof or pipe on a window, etc. you can change your piping tip down to size 1-2. 
  • Use chocolate pop tarts for more of a contrast
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