Mini Homemade Pop Tarts

by Kelly on July 21, 2010

I tell myself that now we’ve been hitting some blazing hot temperatures in Chicago that I will stop using my oven. I’ll cast pizza and cookies aside for no-bake desserts and crisp salads.  But really, who am I kidding.  I still bake, I just crank up the AC to make it tolerable.  Not good for my hips or my energy bill, but I love it.

homemade mini pop tarts

This week I had a good reason to  play with my oven though.  My office was holding a bake sale to benefit Off the Street Club, the oldest boys and girls club in Chicago.  I love participating in bake sales, especially when they are for a good cause, so I knew it was a perfect excuse to turn on my oven.  Even better, it allowed me to finally make a recipe that’s been on my to do list for awhile – Homemade Pop Tarts.  I swooned when I saw them on Smitten Kitchen in April,  but then got distracted by making other things (Goat Cheese Brownies perhaps?).  And then Sues of We are Not Martha made them and I knew it was only time.

homemade mini pop tarts2

This homemade version starts with a buttery crust.  Lightly sweet and golden, it’s much flakier than the original (pleasantly so) with a sturdiness that allows it to accomidate all manner of fillings.  True purists will complain that it’s not identical to the store-bought Pop Tarts- and it isn’t – but I found it so sumptious I didn’t care.  Sues and Deb filled theirs with cinnamon and sugar but I opted for homemade Chocolate Banana Spread.  I made the linked recipe almost verbatim, although I omitted banana flavor and also added 2 teaspoons of arrowroot mixed with milk to thicken it.  The spread itself is pretty luscious.  I haven’t included it on the blog as I want to convert it from weight measurements to volume measurements, but am sure it will reappear here again sometime soon.  But the point is – I almost forgot I had one due to my ability to be distracted by bananas and chocolate – these are infinitely customizable.  You can recreate one of your favorites or invent something new, Like The Duo Dishes’ strawberry- wine jelly filling.  The bottom line is that these are sinful and so worth the buzz they’ve been getting in the blogosphere.  I’m just wishing I had access to chocolate goat cheese, because surely that as a filling would take these over the top.

homemade mini pop tarts3

Mini Homemade Pop Tarts
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen who used a King Arthur Flour recipe
Yields 16 mini Pop Tarts

Ingredients:
-2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
-1 tablespoon sugar
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
-2 large eggs, divided
-2 tablespoons (1 ounce) heavy whipping cream
-Desired filling (about 1 heaping teaspoon per mini Pop Tart)

Method:
Make the dough by whisking together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter until the mixture holds together when you squeeze it, with pea-sized lumps of butter still visible. Mix the egg and cream together, and add it to the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive.

Divide the dough in half; each half will weigh about 10 ounces. Shape each half into a rough 3″ x 5″ rectangle, smoothing the edges. Roll out immediately; or wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. 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″. Laying a 9″ x 13″ pan atop the dough will give you an idea if you’ve rolled it large enough. Trim off the edges.

Roll the second piece of dough just as you did the first. Cut each piece of dough into 16 2 1/4″x3″ rectangles. I found that a ruler and a pizza cutter were the easiest way to do this.

Beat the egg, and brush it over the entire surface of the dough. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the center of each marked rectangle. Place the second sheet of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around each pocket of jam, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Cut the dough evenly in between the filling mounds to make sixteen tarts. Press the cut edges with your fingers to seal, then press with a fork, to seal again.

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 for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. (Alternatively you can refrigerate them overnight, as I did, if you want to bake them up first thing in the morning.)

Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 25 to 35 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool on the pan.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet July 21, 2010 at 7:33 am

Those look so flaky and delicious. Now if I could recreate the brown sugar or smores pop tarts I’d be thrilled!

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brandi July 21, 2010 at 8:41 am

these look incredible! Going on my “to make” list :)

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Jenna July 21, 2010 at 9:19 am

I always eye up the pop tart’s at the grocery store and am always tempted to buy a box. Maybe I wouldn’t feel as bad eating a pop tart if they were homemade! I actually think there would be zero guilt. :)

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Evan @swEEts July 21, 2010 at 9:21 am

Pop tarts were my favorite morning treat growin up.. I definitely am going to have to check these out! I loved the Strawberry ones.. how would these be with some frosting!?

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Andrea @ CanYouStayForDinner.com July 21, 2010 at 9:49 am

Yum! These turned out fabulous- so flaky. I also love that you turned yours mini! Thanks for the shout out!

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Bethany July 21, 2010 at 9:55 am

Oh my goodness these pictures are amazing… I love the last one, it’s making me so hungry! What a great filling idea, and I think the crust you describe is an INFINITE improvement over the original Pop-Tart crust.

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CaSaundra July 21, 2010 at 10:22 am

Love this idea!!! I used to eat Pop-Tarts all the time growing up as either a breakfast or an on-the-go snack. Not only does your filling look delicious (yes, we both have great taste preferences haha), but I love the fact that they are mini! I must try these as soon as I have time!! :-)

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Hangry Pants July 21, 2010 at 11:12 am

These look so amazing!

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Kelly July 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Jessica – Given your recipes I have no doubt you can recreate them. Besides, compared to some of their newer flavors, they definitely seem like the easiest. Ice cream sandwich flavored, now that’s a head scratcher.

Brandi – They are so worth it. Generally I find whenever anything has made a thorough loop around the blogs it tends to be really amazing.

Jenna – It’s actually the vending machine, not the grocery store that gets me when it comes to pop tarts. Although the last time I bought them there was no toaster handy. They’re just not as good toasted.

Bethany – Thank you. I debated over whether the last picture was appetizing or gross so I’m glad it fell in the former camp for you. :-)

CaSaundra – They are definitely worth making once your schedule calms down and even if it doesn’t, there are some great recipes that involve pre-made pie dough that sound a little quicker.

Hangry Pants – Thank you. They definitely taste amazing too. A little too much so.

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Kelly July 21, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Evan – Is anything not better with frosting? I think these would be absolutely delicious with it. It was actually in my original plan, but I was making these last minute and ran out of time. However, next time I think a simple glaze of milk, powdered sugar, and flavoring is in order.

Andrea – You’re very welcome. Yours were gorgeous as well.

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Joy July 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm

That looks great. I find that I enjoy the homemade versions more than the storebought. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

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Sues July 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm

These look awesome!! They look a lot flakier and moister than mine. And chocolate banana spread is the PERFECT filling!!

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Shannon July 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm

love that last photo! makes me wish that was my bite ;) and holy moly, chocolate goat cheese in these? i’m going to have to make a drive out to western ma again :)

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Reeni July 22, 2010 at 5:34 pm

These look like they would just melt in your mouth – so flaky and buttery – totally scrumptious! I love the chocolate banana filling too.

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Betsy July 22, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Kelly, these look absolutely delicious. I looked at Smitten Kitchen’s version and the photos on your blog really do this recipe justice.

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Kelly July 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

Thanks Betsy. :-)

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Kerstin July 22, 2010 at 10:54 pm

They look so perfectly flaky and are making my mouth water – yum!

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Sophie @ yumventures July 23, 2010 at 8:43 am

I saw these on SK too. I love the idea of making mini ones! Yum!

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Kelly July 23, 2010 at 11:55 am

Sophie – I think they are pretty great mini too. Making them full sized is more authentic, but these are SO rich that a mini one is more than satisfying enough. :-)

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Esi July 25, 2010 at 4:32 pm

I love homemade pop tarts!! So much better than the store version.

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Kelly July 27, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Esi – I agree, although in a weird way, the store-bought kind can be good too, a weird kind of fake way.

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BJ October 13, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Nutella and banana would be my choice! Yum!

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