Saturday, March 1, 2014

Eats: Homemade Pop-Tarts

Hello! When I was a kid, I used to think that Pop-Tarts were the epitome of processed food treats. Why did I think that? Probably because my parents never bought them for us, so they were a rare treat to me. Only had them when I'd spend the night at a friend's house. 

As an adult, I could buy them any time I pleased, of course, but by then they'd become something I couldn't eat with a clear conscience. I'm not a big fan of overly-processed food. 

Our daughter became exposed to Pop-Tarts at a hotel breakfast bar and liked them, so they became a once-a-year treat. I'd buy her a box for her birthday and that would be that. 

But earlier this week I decided to make some homemade Pop-Tarts to have on hand for her visit home during spring break. I looked over a few recipes before deciding upon one from the Smitten Kitchen website. The recipe was adapted from one developed by the folks at King Arthur Flour. That's two solid baking resources, so I figured the recipe was bound to be a good one. 

And was it? See for yourself:

If I was making these for myself, I would have used the brown sugar-cinnamon filling recipe, but our daughter prefers a fruit filling, so I followed the instructions for a jam filling (in my case, strawberry). 

Some of the recipes for homemade Pop-Tarts called for chilling the dough first, but the King Arthur/Smitten Kitchen recipe didn't - one reason why I went for it. I'd rather get going on the process right away than have to wait for the dough to firm up. (there is a 30 minute chilling time after the homemade Pop-Tarts have been assembled, but that time can be used to preheat the oven, clean up the kitchen, etc)

The dough was easy to make, especially since the food processor could be used to cut in the butter - so much easier than doing this step by hand and very quick too. 

I replaced 1/2 cup of the white flour with the same amount of white wheat flour. I also omitted two tablespoons of the butter, just to make it a little less fat-laden. Possibly because of these two changes, the pastry turned out a little dense - but still way better than the pastry of the real thing. It handled pretty well too - no dreaded sticking to the pastry cloth or the rolling pin. The only real "work" involved was the measuring and cutting of dough to get the correctly-sized rectangles. Some degree of uniformity is a good idea here.

The nice thing about a make-it-yourself recipe is that any filling can be used. Our daughter shares my love of almond paste, so who knows? If she eats these up fast enough during spring break, I may make a batch filled with that! And as she seemed to enjoy her first breakfast of homemade Pop-Tarts this morning, I have a feeling we might get around to almond paste ones at some point next week. 

If you'd like to try making your own, the recipe can be found HERE.

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