Homemade Pop Tarts

Think of all the things I could have baked with pastry dough. The tarts, the quiche, the sweet cherry pies. And yet…I chose pop tarts.

You heard that right. Homemade pop tarts.

Remember those crisp-edged toasty pastries that came two to a foil pack? The ones that remind you of embroidered initials on L.L.Bean backpacks and stirrup pants and french braids? Well they’re proof that nostalgia has a flavor, and it tastes even richer than the most decadent of confections.

Especially if said pastries have gooey centers filled with brown sugar and cinnamon.

…or rose-hued cherry centers.

Buttery and slightly crumbly, these taste of sweater vests and New Kids on the Block, sleepovers and making jazz squares.

Everything that was good in the world of 1991.

Homemade Pop Tarts (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Pastry
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold milk or ice water

1 egg (to brush on pastry)

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour

Jam Filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water  (Using cornstarch is optional, I omitted it)

Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl and pour it into your food processor. Add the cold, diced butter and pulse a few times until the mixture has pea-sized lumps of butter, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. You can also make the pastry without the food processor- to do so simply cut in the butter to the bowl of flour, salt, and sugar using a pastry blender or a fork until it is a coarse meal. In either method, once the butter and flour mixture is combined, stream in the ice water and pulse or stir a few times just to moisten the dough and make everything hold together, not to make it wet.

If you didn’t use a food processor, you may find it helpful to knead the dough briefly on a well-floured surface.

If you know what’s good for you- you’ll go with the food processor. It is a world easier.

Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches.

Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9″ x 13″ pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Make the filling: whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat the egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on.

Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it.

Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides.

Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries.

Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.Whisk

Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh my gaaawd. I have wanted to make these since I saw the post on SK’s blog. They look awesome! I never got that dang LL Bean backpack either! haha

  2. says

    I saw these on Smitten Kitchen too, and they are on my “to make” list as well. I always loved the strawberry ones with the frosting…call me crazy, but the cinnamon brown sugar ones just never did it for me. Its all about the frosting really =) I’m glad you’re came out so well. This may be my next rainy day project.

  3. says

    Aww, these look great! And with ingredients I can actually pronounce 😉 Definitely reminiscent of sleepovers and middle school breakfasts!

  4. says

    Oh wow. I won’t lie, Pop Tarts are one of my biggest fear foods, but if I actually made them myself, I think I’d be able to eat them. These look so freaking delicious, and ten times better than what comes out of those foil packets!

  5. says

    I’m freaking out right now – these look amazing!!!

    Unfortunately Pop Tarts used to be a big binge food for me, so I have to be very careful around them…but I think I’m to the point where I could handle them. Especially if they’re homemade, which have to be 10 times better!

  6. says

    Andrea your cooking ideas and abilities are beyond words. I have bookmarked so many of your recipes. Your food looks so delicious, yet you make it seem so easy to make. Make your own cookbook and sell it off of this blog. I’m serious!

    • says

      Jennifer you always make me smile! Thank you so much! I would absolutely die and go to heaven to write a book, a cookbook no less. But I would have no clue where to start, nor how to approach a publisher. I do appreciate your kindness, though!

  7. says

    these are adorable. I try and not even buy poptarts because my family has no self control. I consider them dessert…and when hubs lets the toddler have one for breakfast I get all irked. haha

    I did try buying “organic” ones; hoping it would alleviate my bad mother guilt, but no…a pop tart is a pop tart. As a kid we used to toast them and then spread real butter on the top (had to be frosted too). It’s the only way I’ll eat them. It’s horrible! It’s like when Domino’s started stuffing cheese in their crusts.

    C’Mon…pizza is already laden with fat and calories…you HAD to go and take my favorite ingredient and shove it any nook and cranny you could.

    I wonder if I made HOME MADE poptarts if my mommy guilt would be better? you could fill them with eggs and zucchini???

    either way your poptarts are adorable and no doubt amazing!
    I’ll probably made them; cuz you know, I love a parade! :)
    xoxoxo

    • says

      So agreed that cheese stuffed crust pizza is madness. Years ago I thought it was great, but now I just feel like it’s sensory overload. The notion of frosted pop tarts that have been toasted with butter spread on top is out of this world decadence. Sounds divine! You should try the homemade pop tarts in the sense that you can identify the ingredients here- unlike the name brand. But they’re still loaded with butter. You know what- a good idea might be to make pop tart minis and then freeze them. Portion control, I suppose!

  8. says

    What a creative idea! I never allow myself poptarts because I think I’d eat the whole box. Sometimes I’m NO good at willpower. But once I’ve mastered baking the healthy version, I’m not as apt to over do it. Thanks!

  9. says

    That is so awesome! Brown sugar + cinnamon was definitely my favorite growing up. I bet these taste so much better too. And it’s nice to know they don’t include a ton of scary ingredients.

  10. says

    Oh how lovely do they look? I’ve never liked poptarts but those are in a different class.

    I may cheat and use the leftover packet of puff pastry I have (from when I made your awesome meat pies!) but I will make up for it by making my own fruit compote for the filling!

  11. says

    Those look scrumptious. I said recently that my children will not be allowed to have poptarts every day for breakfast like we did at my house, but maybe they can have them every once in a while if I make them from scratch. :)

  12. says

    Wow! You are so creative!!!! The ones with the preserves would definitely be my favorite. I gotta make these. Thanks for the recipe!!

  13. Samantha says

    I made these last night. it was super fun making them and they tasted great. (I made them with 3 different filling, apples and honey, peanut butter and banana, and a grape jam one) The only problem I had with them was that I had to add so much extra flour because the dough was sticking to everything! I even tried to let the dough get cold in the freezer for a little while but not even that worked. Did anyone else have this problem or was it just me?

  14. Sabrina says

    These look absolutely delicious! One of my friend’s favorite guilty pleasure’s are those little tin wrapped poptarts, but due to her supervised diet never has them. She’s going to love it when I surprise her with these. If you know, approximately how many calories are in these?

    • Samantha says

      in the pasty alone (no filling and using water not milk) there is 340 calories in one serving. (I also calculated in extra flour because when you roll out the dough you use more)

  15. Kristi says

    My son is allergic to dairy so I would have to use shortening in place of butter. Do you think they would still taste as good as yours?
    I have not purchased poptarts for years because they are so bad, but these would be a nice treat from time to time!

  16. Haleigh Woolsey says

    These look so good! I was wondering if you had any idea what the nutritional facts were like on these? I noticed some of you other recipes had that kind of information.

    Thanks!

  17. Renee says

    One of your followers mentioned the dough was rather soft/sticky. I found that, too. I went to the SK blog that you were kind enough to mention. Her recipe used an egg in the dough mixture. Did you omit the egg for a particular reason? Does omitting it make the crust more tender. I added the egg to my already prepared dough and it added the stiffness I needed. I am willing to try it without the egg. This morning I was in a time crunch and didn’t have time to experiment. The end product was flaky and better than the shelf variety.

  18. Lydia says

    really enjoy reading your blog. Your recipes are irresistible and the ingredients are all fresh and easily available. I live in Spain and “boxes of cake mix” don’t exist and they are never as satisfying as making the real thing from scratch!

    Keep it up!!

    Lydia.

  19. Rene' says

    I have been thinking about how to make poptarts! Could you use an alternative flour, like whole wheat flour or oat flour instead?
    What about stevia for sugar and an egg white for the while egg?
    Lastly, can we use an alternative for butter?
    I am new to this healthy food stuff, but I just lost 30 pounds so I am trying to keep it up!

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