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Cinnamon Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts

I recently took a good look at my ever growing list of bookmarked recipes to try and noticed that 95 percent of the recipes on there were desserts. Faced with the harsh reality that I probably eat way more desserts than I do actual food and that my future husband and kids might seriously end up eating brownies as a meal someday, I have decided to make a conscious effort to do more cooking and less baking. And as always, the real meals that I'll be whipping up will be featured here on the blog, so YAY! I know everyone's excited.

Good news like this calls for a celebration, and we all know it's not a celebration unless baked goods are involved. So, how about some cinnamon brown sugar pop-tarts? Yes, I knew we were on the same page. You guys went crazy over them when I posted a teaser pic on Facebook, so I'm sure you've also been at the edge of your seats for the recipe. Well, I'm here now to share it with you all and to assure you that homemade pop-tarts are really not as intimidating as you may think they are! 

Let's break down a pop-tart's components: pastry crust, filling, and glaze. You make the pastry crust with a few whirls of a food processor.  You make the filling with a few tosses of a fork. And you make the glaze with a few turns of a whisk. Now you tell me how intimidating that sounds?

Not at all right? Exactly! So now that you've realized that, you can hop right on into your kitchen, gather your ingredients and start baking. The sooner you do all that, the sooner you'll be rewarded with the best pop-tarts you have ever tasted ever in your entire life. And that is not an exaggeration.

Melt in your mouth flaky crust. Check. Rich, non-high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar-cinnamon filling. Check. Delicious, non-artifically flavored or colored cinnamon glaze. Check. Overall light and airy pop-tart. Check.

Now remind me again when was the last time you checked all or even one of those off for a store-bought Pop-Tart? ....I'm gonna go ahead and say never. That's your cue to shun store-bought Pop-Tarts from your life for good. This is where it's at people. This is what you want to be eating. This is what you need to be eating. Homemade and freshly baked, and don't even get me started on the endless variations of fillings and toppings you could try. So, what are you waiting for?

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts

Yield: 9 pop-tarts
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For the pastry crust:
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small chunks
4 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 large egg, whisked with a tablespoon of water (to brush the pastries with)

For the glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
4 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract)


For the pastry crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour and salt; pulse a couple times to combine. Throw in the cold, diced butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about the size of peas.

With the machine running, add the ice water through the opening on top of the lid, in a slow, steady stream, one tablespoon at a time, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. It should start to form a ball and come away from the sides. It is very important to not over process the dough. A way to test if the dough is ready is by squeezing a small amount of it together; if it doesn't come together and it's still dry, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. 

Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into disks and tightly wrap. Place the disks in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

For the filling:
In a medium-sized bowl, add the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Toss them together with a fork (or your hands) until everything is mixed evenly.

Assembling the pop tarts
Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and allow it to thaw for a bit. This will help you roll out the dough, and make it easier to work with. Place one disk of dough on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it out into a large rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Trim off the sides of the dough, so that it measures 9×12 inches in size. Cut the dough into thirds, and then cut each third into thirds again. You will end up with 9 rectangular pieces, each measuring 3×4 inches. Using a ruler is very helpful for this step. Repeat with the second disk of dough.

Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water to make your egg wash. Brush the egg wash over the entire surface of the first nine rectangles of dough. This will be the “bottom” of the tart; the egg wash will help glue the top rectangle on.

Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, making sure to leave about 1/4 inch of space on the edge. Brush the second group of dough rectangles with egg wash and then place each one directly over a bottom rectangle, egg wash faced down. Use your fingertips to press firmly around the tart, sealing the dough well on all sides. Crimp the edges of each tart with a fork. This will ensure the tarts do not open up during baking.

Gently place the tarts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart five times with a skewer or toothpick; this will allow the steam to escape, so that the tarts will become light and airy instead of flat. Brush the tops with the remaining egg wash. Refrigerate the tarts, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. This will allow the butter in the dough to chill and firm up causing a flakier crust.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Remove tarts from the fridge and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until they’re golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Let the tarts cool on the pan for about 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze, whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl until well-combined and at spreading consistency. If you find that your glaze is too runny, simply add more powdered sugar. Use a butter knife or offset spatula to glaze each tart. Allow the glaze to harden before eating. 

Store the tarts in an airtight container. To reheat, place in a 350° preheated oven and heat for 10 minutes. Or you can pop them in a toaster to warm them for a few seconds. 

Adapted from The Candid Appetite

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