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Pop-Tarts



Is a Pop-Tart crust supposed to be more pie-like or cookie-like? This debate raged in our house as Mr. Baking With Chickens swears up-and-down, sideways, and every-which-way that the texture of a Pop-Tart crust should be more like a Christmas sugar cookie than a pie crust because it’s crumbly and sweet. I disagree, and so here we are with the Battle of the Pop-Tarts


In this episode, we compare and taste test two homemade Pop Tart recipes with Kellogg’s Pop-Tart, and the Trader Joe’s Organic Toaster Pastries to find out which one tastes best, why, and whether or not Mr. Baking With Chickens’ argument that the crust should be like a sugar cookie is valid. 



Blind-Folded Pop-Tart Taste Taste

After much bickering, Mr. Baking With Chickens challenged me to a blind-folded taste test to see which homemade Pop Tart recipe was closest to the original Kellogg’s Pop-Tart. Which do you think won?? I felt that the flavor of the Smitten Kitchen recipe was great, but I also liked the texture of the sugar cookie-style dough from Mr. Baking With Chickens if it were less sweet overall. 


History of Pop-Tarts

Kellogg’s released their iconic Pop-Tarts to the American public in 1964, beating their competitor Post to the punch. Post announced their breakfast innovation idea “Country Squares,” before their product was ready to release in the market but took too long experimenting with the recipe. Kellogg’s took the idea, came up with a product, and got it out into stores in 6 months. The rest is history. Post did release their version called Toast’em Pop-Ups, but it was too late. Kellogg’s ate them for breakfast. And of course, there is the Pillsbury Toaster Strudel which is more like a hand pie. Read more about the "Untold Truth of Pop-Tarts" via Mashable.


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Get the Recipes

Pie Crust is NOT the same as a Pop-Tart but I really like Smitten Kitchen’s version that is essentially a pie crust technique made with milk and egg for a sturdier crust. Mr. Baking With Chickens came up with a recipe several years ago that’s derived from a sugar cookie-style rather than pie dough. You can fill it with any type of jam you have on hand. Both recipes are below!

Mr. Baking With Chickens’ Sugar Cookie-Style Pop-Tart Crust Recipe 


Homemade pop-tart recipe made using a less sweet sugar-cookie style dough and your favorite fruit jam. A Baking With Chickens Original Recipe


Time to Prepare: 1.5 hours

Makes: nine (9) 3”x4” Pop-Tarts


Recipe Adjustment Notes: I reduced the amount of sugar in this recipe significantly, as the original recipe from sugar cookies was too sweet in addition to the jam filling. The shortening gives the dough a soft, sandy texture as it has a higher melting point than butter and is 100% fat. 


INGREDIENTS: 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar 

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening

  • 1/2 cup whole milk or buttermilk

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 egg for egg wash 

  • Jam of choice, any flavor


INSTRUCTIONS:


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients -  flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. 


2. Work in the shortening with a pastry cutter or your fingers until pea-sized lumps of fat are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. The texture should feel like the kinetic play sand. 


3. Whisk 1 egg, milk, and vanilla extract together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything holds together into a dough. It should not be sticky. Add a little more flour and knead briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.


4. Divide the dough in half, shape half into a smooth rectangle, set aside the other half. Roll the dough flat evenly to ⅛ inch thick. 


5. With a large knife. Cut the dough into equal sized approximately 3” x 4” rectangles or smaller if you like mini Pop-Tarts. Carefully transfer the dough onto a parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheet. 


6. Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. The egg will act like a glue to stick the top and bottom dough pieces together. 


7. Scoop a tablespoon of jam filling into the center of each dough rectangle. Don’t spread to the edge, keep a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around the edge. 


8. Place a second rectangle of dough on top of the first dough filled with jam. Press the edges with your fingers to seal the dough and keep the jam inside. Press the tines of a fork all around the dough edge to further seal the Pop-Tarts. Use your fork to poke a small holes on the top dough to release steam as they bake, so they’ll stay flat rather than into pillow pockets. Repeat with remaining dough.


Optional: Brush the tops of the dough with remaining egg wash to give it a golden shine. 


9. Bake in the center rack of the oven for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a baking rack. Store in an airtight container.  


Icing Glaze: If you’d like to make an icing, you can make a basic icing with 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. 




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