Homemade Pop Tarts
Whole Wheat Strawberry Pop Tarts
Do you remember those crisp-edged pastries that tasted so rich and delicious? Those gooey strawberry jam filled centers with frosted colorful sprinkles? We are all guilty of eating Pop Tarts from those cardboard boxes at some point in our lives. Some people still indulge in them, as evidently seen in the vending machines at their workplace.
Now you can learn how to make a healthier version of this sweet breakfast treat. Once you've learned how to make your own homemade Pop Tarts, you will probably never buy another box from the store again. Sorry Kellogg’s, but I have nothing against you. America is just more health conscious now.
Pop Tarts and Sweet Childhood Memories
Breakfast has always been the favorite meal of the day for me. These strawberry filled Pop Tarts bring sweet memories of a little girl spending quality breakfast time with her father. Fast forward two decades later, they still bring a smile to her face.
As a new immigrant to the country, my father used to be a hard worker who delivered newspapers for a living. Like any young kid, I dreaded waking up early every morning for school. The only thing that dragged my sleepy eyes out of bed was the sound of my father coming home every morning at 7:00 am, holding one of two things: either a pink box of donuts or a box of Pop Tarts.
We would sit in front of the old 20" television, eat Pop Tarts and watch Tom & Jerry together. (You know, the cartoon of the mouse and cat that never talked) My father was not much of a talker either, and that's why I loved our quiet shared moments. I loved every single crispy crumb. I loved the melted center that occasionally dripped down the side of my mouth.
I still love how one single bite can make me remember what it was like to be 8 years old again and be able to enjoy eating a sweet breakfast pastry without any care in the world. What calories? What preservative? What sugar?
It was just me, my Dad, and Tom & Jerry. I love that a Pop Tart can bring me back to those earlier years filled with sweet childhood memories. What's even better is, now that I am older and more health-conscious, I figured a way to still eat the one food that brings a smile to my face every time.
How Can I Make a Healthier Version of My Favorite Classic?
So, I've made my confession. I loved Pop Tarts. No, scratch that. I still love Pop Tarts. I haven’t bought a box since 2005 because they are filled with all kinds of strange ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Now that I’m older and more careful about how I eat, I became intrigued with the idea of finding ways to transform classic recipes into a healthier version.
This recipe was originally adapted from King Arthur Flour. I’m sure their recipe is just divine, and closer to the original in terms of taste and appearance. However, I need to keep my thighs happy so I've come up with a healthier alternative.
I’m going to show you two different versions that I have experimented with. The first recipe is for people transitioning into eating whole wheat. The second version is for the uber health-conscience eaters, who are more restrictive with their diet. It does not involve any sugar or butter. I always eat the second version, but occasionally serve the first version to friends.
This homemade version of Pop Tarts is wonderful. You know it’s better for your conscience. You know every single ingredient that is involved. It has a rich, buttery pie crust, and sweet organic strawberry filling. Of course the crust is made with whole wheat flour.
But enough of about me . . . let’s get to the recipe here.
Recipe 1: Homemade Healthy Pop Tarts
- 1 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup organic butter (1 COLD stick)
- 2-3 tablespoon cold milk (or water)
- Organic strawberry jam (or any other fruit jam)
- Organic powdered sugar (optional for dusting)
Recipe 2: Version With No Butter or Sugar
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2-3 tablespoon cold water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Organic strawberry jelly or jam
- Organic powdered sugar (optional for dusting)
Note: You can use any fruit-flavored jam. I have even experimented with raw organic peanut butter, organic almond butter, bananas, and even melted dark chocolate.
Tip: Use organic fillings for the best health benefits!
Instructions: How to Assemble the Pop Tarts (Very Easy!)
1. Mix ingredients.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt in a food processor (or mixer). Put the cut-up pieces of cold butter into the mixture, and continue to mix. Slowly drizzle the cold milk in until the dough is cohesive. You can also knead the dough just a little bit to make it nice and workable.
- Roll out the dough on a large, well-floured surface. Use a knife to cut the dough into the desired. As you can see in the picture, my squares are far from perfect. I never said I was an artist, just a home cook. Don’t worry about it; you will be able to “fix” it later.
Note: You can freeze them! I have found that making them ahead of time and putting them in the toaster oven to re-heat makes for a very fast and convenient breakfast! Grab them in the morning and run out the door.
Optional: If you want the jam to be thicker, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with one tablespoon water in a saucepan until it begins to boil. Remove from heat, and add to the jam. Personally, I leave this step out because it really is an unnecessary ingredient. I like my jam a bit runny anyway.
2. Assemble it!
- Beat the egg, and brush it over the entire surface of the first piece of dough. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle. Place the second sheet of dough on top of the first and press firmly around each pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. At this point, if the edges look uneven or messy, just use a knife and trim it. Press the cut edges with a fork, to seal.
- Place the tarts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. I just used a really good nonstick baking pan that doesn’t require to be greased. Poke holes on the top of each tart with a toothpick to let steam escape. If you skip this step, the tarts will poof up!
- Refrigerate the tart (no need to cover) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, until they're slightly golden brown. Do not overcook! Remove tarts from the oven, and allow them to cool on the pan.
Disclaimer: Please Eat Responsibly
Although this is a healthier recipe, this is not necessarily the healthiest breakfast choice. But let’s pat yourselves on the back for taking baby steps towards eating better and feeding nutrients in your body. You are staying away from processed food by not buying those boxed pastries from the store. No more preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, and no extra sugar. No strange, hard to pronounceable ingredients. No science experiments. Just wholesome, fresh warm pastries made with love for your family.
© 2012 Kim Lam