Cinnamon Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts

There are several instances in life that are often taken for granted. More so as the years pass us by and we get older. The moments we live and the memories we make—as we grow up—are sometimes forgotten, abandoned, and traded in. They are foreshadowed by unimportant events. Boring everyday tasks like waking up to go to school and work. Those are the things we have to do. Unfortunately those duties take the driver’s seat in our lives and the things we want to do—the fun and exhilarating moments we look forward to—take a backseat. We get older and our priorities start to shift. We put on our “big boy and girl” pants and we act responsible. We no longer have time to appreciate the small things in life. We begin to yearn for the days when life was easier, and our worries seemed so minuscule compared to the bigger everyday problems we encounter now, in our mature years. We never think about the fact that one day we too will get older. It dawns on us that times does not stand still, as we hoped it would. We look around onto our siblings. Onto our parents. Onto our friends and we forget about the fact that time has passed us by. It’s hard for us to fathom because we still see those loved ones as we did ten years ago. Young and unaffected, unfazed by life all around. Cut to the present and we are all standing here, older and wiser. “Where did the time go?,” we ask ourselves. Years are unaccounted for. Lost in the doldrum rhythm. The beat, beat, beat of our lives have taken it’s toll. But it will not get us down. No, we are fighters. Regrets, they do collect, but we must not forget to have fun along the way. There is still a glimmer of hope. You do not have to worry about losing those precious memories. Your youth is still there. Buried deep inside you like a treasure just waiting to be unearthed, discovered, and brought back to life. It is not hard to think back at the moments that made your childhood so pleasant. One simply must do. You cannot go on living as if it is too late or you are too old to have fun. For fun is all around us, no matter our age. Think about the things you did as a child. The foods you ate. The games you played. The laughs you laughed. They will strike a harmonious chord in your memory.

I look back at my childhood and I cannot help but feel a sense of appreciation. Appreciation to my mom and sisters for the things they taught me and instilled in me. Being the youngest comes with a responsibility. A responsibility to soak up as much information as one can. To learn and grow from the things we see. In many ways my childhood was much like yours. Days filled with idle fun and great food. Granted this was all before I even began to cook. Before my early teen years where I answered the incessant calls of the kitchen. So to a 8 year old me, the simplest of food was the grandest. My palate was that of a simpleton and I enjoyed normal everyday kid stuff. Now at 23 I’ve come a long way from mac ‘n’ cheese from a box, but my love for simple treats has intensified.

Nothing reminds me of my youth more than pop-tarts do. Countless mornings were filled with these—then irresistible—toaster pastries. On weekends, when laziness hit, I’d haphazardly stumble to the pantry, open those all too familiar pastries and pop them in the toaster. Life seemed to move so slowly for those thirty whole seconds it took to warm my treats to perfection. They’d finally jump up in the air, and I’d catch them before registering how hot they actually were. I chomped them down as I curled up on the couch and turned on the television. Life was good and I was in heaven. Of course there were also those inevitable week days, when I’d be forced to go to school to pick up an education. Sure I’m grateful now (stay in school kids) but at that moment I hated it. School day mornings were usually spent running around. I’d wake up late, because if there is one trait I’ve inherited from my mother it is her innate ability to be late to everything. I’d wake up thirty minutes after the alarm had rung—for the third time—and I’d be forced to rush through the house like a mad child. I’d run into the kitchen, tear open the metallic wrapping that encased my breakfast, as I headed for school losing my window of opportunity to heat them in the toaster. I’d be saddened by my room temperature pastries. But what can I say? I’m my mother’s son. So I went on suffering because I would not learn my lesson, the next day I’d wake up just as late. Life is a cycle. Today, pop-tarts still have the same power over me. Although, now I must make them myself, and do you know what I’ve come to discover? Homemade pop-tarts are the easiest thing to make. I’ll also go on record to say they taste better when you make them yourself.

So what do we need to make these awesome—better-than-the-store-bought-kind—pop-tarts?

Just eleven simple, already in your pantry, ingredients.

We’re finally back to baking (sorry for the brief savory break. I feel the need to do a cooking post every once in a while to break up the rhythm), but if you remember we always start with a mixer bowl.

This time we’re changing it up a bit.

Let’s give that stand mixer a rest and use the food processor instead.

We begin by making the pastry dough.

Dump in the flour and salt.

 

Put a lid on it, and give it a couple pulses to mix together.

Next up, reach into your fridge and take out the butter.

It is very important that the butter be extra, super, duper, cold.

Dice the butter.

 

Drop the butter into the flour.

Place the lid back on the food processor.

Oh hello there, butter.

Pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles course crumbs, the size of peas.

  

You’ll know the mixture is ready when you can grab a handful and it comes together to form a loose ball.

The next step is to add the ice cold water.

 Add 1/4 cup of ice cold water, be sure to add it in a tablespoon at a time.

 

The dough should form into a ball and come off the sides of the bowl.

Tip: If the dough appears to be dry add more water—as needed—a tablespoon at a time. Remember, you can always add more but you can never take any back!

Dump the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap.

Form it into a ball and divide it in half.

Then form each half into a disk and wrap separately with plastic wrap.

Place the wrapped disks of dough into the refrigerator. Allow to chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

After the dough has chilled, remove the disks from the fridge and let them come down to room temperature for a bit. This will make rolling out the dough, easier.

Working with one disk at a time, place on a lightly floured surface.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle about an 1/8 of an inch thick.

Trim off the sides, using a pizza cutter, so that its 9×12 inches in size.

Cut the dough into thirds. Make sure each third is even Steven.

Then proceed to cut each third into thirds. (Am I confusing you yet?)

I used a ruler to make sure each piece is even.

You should end up with 9 rectangles, each 3×4 inches in size.

Place each rectangle onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

The pop-tarts don’t spread out much while baking so you don’t have to worry about leaving too much space in between each.

These nine rectangles are the bottoms of the tarts.

Place the sheet in the fridge while you repeat the process with the second half of the dough, for the tops.

Cut the second dough into 9 rectangles in the same manner you did the first.

Once you have 18 rectangles of dough cut, you are ready to make the filling. We’re making cinnamon brown sugar pop tarts so guess what? We’re going to make cinnamon brown sugar filling! Yup. I know I know. Who would have thought?

Into a large bowl, dump the brown sugar.

Throw in some flour.

And last but not least, the cinnamon. Which happens to be the best ingredient in the whole, entire dish. Cinnamon fixes everything. It makes everything better. Can you tell that I love cinnamon? It’s the best spice in all the world.

Use your paws to mix the filling together.

Or if you do not like to get your hands dirty in the kitchen, then you shouldn’t cook, then just feel free to use a fork.

  

Stir together until all the ingredients are mixed evenly.

Before we get to filing these tarts, we need to make an egg wash.

What is an egg wash you ask? Well, it’s just egg and water mixed together.

So crack an egg into a small bowl and throw in a splash of water. And for all you precise foodies out there, by splash I mean a tablespoon of water.

Give it a good whisk.

 

 

See, that up there, is what you call an egg wash. Pretty simple huh?

We use egg washes for all sorts of baking needs. Most commonly we brush egg wash on top of uncooked pastries and doughs to give them a glossy golden brown finish.

Okay time to assemble these toaster pastries.

Remove the baking sheets from the fridge.

Brush each “bottom” with the egg wash.

Place about a heaping tablespoon of the cinnamon brown sugar filling onto the center of each dough rectangle.

  

Use your fingers, or the back of the spoon to spread out the filling. Make sure to leave about a 1/4 inch border on the sides to be able to close the pastries.

 

Now, brush the “tops” with egg wash and place them over the filling, egg wash faced down.

Top each pastry.

Seal the edges by using a fork to make a crimping pattern all around.

  

We’re almost done. They are almost ready to hit the oven.

Next step is to poke holes in each pastry.

I like making five holes in each, just because I think five is best. No reason in particular. Just five. But anyhow, the holes are necessary because it allows the steam to escape and allows the pop-tarts to get flaky.

Use a skewer or tooth pick to poke the holes.

  

Place the tarts in the fridge once again and chill for about 30 minutes.

After 30….

The final step before baking is to brush each pastry with egg wash.

Remember, this will allow them to get golden brown while baking.

Continue with all of them.

Okay, NOW, they are ready to go into the oven.

Pop these bad boys into a preheated 350° oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes.

Rotate the pan halfway through baking to ensure even browning.

And just like that, magic….PRESTO! They are done.

Well, in all reality, it really wasn’t magic. I unfortunately had to wait the 30 minutes to cool and the 25 minutes for them to bake. You all get to enjoy the magic instantness that is the virtual world.

Let the baked pastries cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes.

Transfer the pop-tarts onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

Okay, while they cool down, let’s make the glaze shall we?

This, much like everything else in this recipe, is super easy.

Here’s what you need.

In a small bowl dump the powdered sugar.

Add the cinnamon.

Stream in the vanilla.

Add the milk, a little at a time.

Give the glaze a whisk until you get a slightly thick / slightly runny consistency.

If you find it to be too thick add a bit more milk, until desired consistency is reached.

 

 

Using a butter knife or an offset spatula glaze each pop-tart with the icing.

I like to frost the center making a rectangle with the glaze, to mimic the store bought kind.

Let the pop-tarts sit for a bit so that the icing can harden.

You can reheat them in a preheated 350º oven for about 10 minutes. You can also pop them in the toaster for a few seconds to quickly warm them up.

One of my sisters likes her pop-tarts cold. I always tell her she’s crazy, the whole point of a pop-tart is to “pop” them into a toaster and warm them up. They are better that way. Granted she also cuts off the crusts. What?!?! That’s the best part. But lucky for me I’m always there to eat her crusts.

You have to make these for your family, for your kids, for your friends, for your coworkers, or just for yourself!

You can feel good about eating these. Have you seen the ingredient list for store bought toaster pastries?! Well the list is a mile long—kinda sorta—and some things are not even pronounceable (for me at least). These only have a handful of ingredients and what’s more, you can name them all.

But the best part of these homemade pop-tarts is that they taste a million-trillion times better than the store bought kind. Trust me. Or make them for yourself to find out.

 

 You can make these on a Sunday and have them ready for the week. Just reheat them before work, or before school, or before your errands. Or before you lounge. I don’t know what you do.

 

This recipe could work for any kind of pop-tart you like. Whichever flavor is your favorite. Just make the dough and that is the building block to anything your heart desires. Let your imagination go wild.

You can make strawberry jam filled pop-tarts.

Or you can make S’MORES pop-tarts.

Or you can just make these Cinnamon Brown Sugar kind because they happen to be my all time favorite. They are the best kind.

Either way, just make them. You wont regret it.

Comments

  1. avatarreese says

    look super delish…
    poptarts are imported food items here in my country, we can buy it at duty free shops and selected supermarkets

      • avatarTmac says

        I just made s triple batch of these for a Christmas treat. I sprinkled with decorations. They are time consuming but I had a blast making them. They are so good!

  2. avatar says

    I love homemade Pop Tarts, and yours look amazing. I eat mine at room temperature; I never thought warming them improved them, but I’ll have to give it another try. But it was your post that inspired me. I have been feeling exactly as your post describes. I’m 22, trying to make dreams come true, and spending as much time as I can having fun and cherishing moments I know will not be there forever. Life is a funny thing and can be very unpredictable, so it’s important to enjoy it while it’s here.

    • avatar says

      Thank you for writing! I’m glad I could inspire you. I’m also glad I’m not the only one out there who feels the same way. I wish you all the luck and I hope your dreams come true. I enjoyed reading your comment. Thanks again. And yes please try warming the pop tarts up, you’ll become addicted ;)

  3. avatar says

    I’ve made homemade Pop Tarts a couple times before, and I’ve always just used up old jams/jellies! I’ll definitely have to try this cinnamon sugar kind next!

    • avatar says

      And I’ve never tried it with the james and jellies. Let’s make a deal? I’ll make it with the jams and jellies and you try it with the cinnamon sugar! We’ll see how we like them :)

  4. avatarstar says

    I happen to have a roommate who LOVES Poptarts! ;) I would have never thought to make them from scratch. you continue to Amaze me Jon! well done! Keep up the creative recipes

    • avatar says

      Haha, how funny, I happen to have a sister who LOVES poptarts just as much as I do I think you have to make these for your roommate! Thank you Star! (What a pretty name btw)!

  5. avatarGenni says

    Thank you for making this recipe!!!! I love pop tarts but always feel guilty unwrapping the silver wrapper, now I can make my own and not feel guilty about what’s going in my body.

  6. avatarDeb says

    Thank you! A great recipe that even my picky eater loves! And as a parent trying to escape the packaged world it was a simple and pleasing outcome!

    • avatar says

      You’re very welcome! I’m so glad you liked the outcome. And I know quite a bit about picky eaters. I grew up with a few picky eaters in my household. It’s tough to cook for them. But I’m glad that your picky eater enjoyed it!! Thanks for writing! I hope you come back and try some new recipes!

  7. avatarsandy says

    I used to make these for my daughter when she was younger but I would make one huge one because after all the center is the best

  8. avatar says

    I had such a hard time keeping the glaze from running down the sides of the tart! I added more powdered sugar to thicken it but I still had to keep wiping the sides until it hardened :/

  9. avatarMelissa says

    I just finished making these! My family and Icannotwait to eat them in the morning! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  10. avatarAbbey K says

    Can’t wait to make these for Valentine’s Day breakfast! My boyfriend and I LOVE cinnamon brown sugar poptarts, they’re our favorite! They look so delish, can’t wait to try. Do they heat up well? I”d have to make them the night before because I have an 8 a.m. class.

    • avatar says

      I can’t wait for you to make them as well!! I hope you and your boyfriend enjoy them! They heat up really well actually!! They will be perfect if you make them the night before. Just warm them up in the oven, toaster oven or toaster for a bit before serving. They become even better! Let me know how they turn out!

      • avatarAbbey K says

        This year will be second Valentine’s Day making them! I’m planning on making them a tradition because they turned out so well! Thanks so much for an amazing recipe!

  11. avatarJessica says

    Would these be terrible without the egg wash? I would love to make them for my daughter, but she has an egg allergy. Any thoughts? Thanks! They look amazing!

    • avatar says

      No not at all! The egg wash really is just there to provide extra color. They’ll still taste great, just wont be golden brown on the outside. Though you’ll put the glaze on top and wont be able to notice either way. Please let me know how they turn out!

  12. avatar says

    Jonathan, truly a work of art and a labor of love. Fabulous photography and superb instructions. Wow. One day I hope you will make a pop tart with a savory cinnamon filling. There is great demand for something like for people who cannot take sugar.

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