I have always been a huge fan of the brown sugar pop tart. I can remember getting them from the vending machines at school or field trips. And it’s my treat of choice when driving on a road trip…add in a strawberry milk and I’m good to go!
This year for Valentine’s Day I decided to try and make homemade pop tarts for the kids. Wow they were amazing!! The flakiness of the crust paired with the brown sugar filling was 1000x better than the one from the vending machine!
- 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 2/3 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 1/2 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- egg wash: 1 large egg mixed with 2 teaspoons milk
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 Tablespoon milk, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*if you want to go the easy route, you could always buy store pie crust and roll them out that way
1. First, mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add cold unsalted butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal (pea-sized crumbles with a few larger bits of fat is OK). Measure 1/2 cup of water in a glass. Add ice. Stir it around. Slowly drizzle in the very cold water 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring with a large spatula after every Tablespoon of water that you add. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to clump.
2. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Form the dough into a ball. Divide in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes-2 hours.
3. Assemble the pop-tarts: Remove 1 chilled dough disc from the refrigerator. Keep the other disc in the refrigerator. Place disc onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Always be gentle with your pastry dough. Cut out hearts with cookie cutters.
4. Place each of the hearts onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. The pop-tarts will not spread in the oven much, so you may place them relatively near one another. Place the baking sheet in the fridge. Roll 2nd disc out into a rectangle and cut into hearts. These nine rectangles will be the tops of your homemade pop-tarts. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator as you make the brown sugar cinnamon filling.
5. Make the filling: Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a small bowl. Set aside. Remove 1 baking sheet of rectangles from the refrigerator. Brush egg wash over the entire surface of each rectangle. These will be the bottoms of your pop-tarts and the egg wash will help glue the lid on. Place Tablespoon of the prepared brown sugar filling into the center of each heart, spread it around, leaving around 1/4 inch of space on the edges. Brush the second baking sheet of hearts with egg wash, then place each heart on top of the filling-topped hearts– egg wash side down. Use your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides.
6. Poke holes in the tops of each filled pastry to allow the steam to escape. This helps get your pop-tart pastry nice and flaky. I used a toothpick. Seal the edges by crimping with a fork, to prevent the sides from opening as the pop-tarts bake. Refrigerate the filled pop-tarts uncovered for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
7. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Once unbaked pop-tarts have chilled for 20 minutes, remove from the refrigerator and brush the tops with the remaining egg wash. Bake for about 22-28 minutes or until they’re golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Let the baked pop-tarts cool on the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
8. Make the glaze: whisk all of the glaze ingredients together in a medium bowl until it reaches a spreading consistency. You want a thick glaze, but not too thick that it is hard to spread. Add another teaspoon or two of milk if needed. Use a spoon or knife to glaze each pop-tart. The glaze will slightly harden in about an hour, if you prefer to wait that long.