living a well tended life... at any age

d.i.y.: pop-tarts

I have a confession to make. While my daily breakfast is, indeed, an English muffin, hard-boiled egg and a large iced coffee, it’s not what I wish it could be.

I WISH it could be………..a Pop-Tart.

And not just any Pop-Tart. A brown sugar-cinnamon Pop-Tart.

Frosted, of course.

homemade pop tarts

But, really? While every once in a rare while I will indulge in this white flour, sugar-filled, nutritionally void “food”, I know better than to make it a daily staple of my diet.

However, that was not going to stop me from including it in my d.i.y. series. And, I’ll admit, I was curious to see if the homemade version would trump the commercial variety.

Game on!

And I knew JUST who to turn to for the recipe – Deb, from my beloved Smitten Kitchen. I was thrilled to see that, among the varieties of fillings, there it was – brown sugar-cinnamon. I took Deb’s suggestion to make the pastries on the petite side, and to swap out some of the white flour for wheat (I’m feeling healthier already!).

homemade pop tarts


1. They were AMAZING. Seriously. The dough was so flaky that it shattered when you bit into it. The filling, warm and sweet. And the crunch of the icing was a yummy foil to the buttery pastry dough.

2. Amazing though they were, these were NOT Pop-tarts.  These pastries resembled the boxed guys in appearance only.  Which was not necessarily a bad thing.

3. Better? Worse? More like…different. These had a homemade taste, texture and appearance that negated any comparison I could draw between the two. Which was fine because they literally flew out of the kitchen in a day.

homemade pop tarts

So all told I am once again glad that I gave this culinary “d.i.y.” a try. And it’s actually got me thinking that I should go back and make more English muffins.

Okay you guys – it’s your turn! What’s YOUR “secret” food indulgence? C’mon, I know you have at least one. It’s safe to share here, promise!

Homemade Pop-Tarts
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

(New to baking? Read my post on baking tips and tricks to get you started.)

homemade pop tarts

homemade pop tarts

homemade pop tarts

homemade pop tarts

1 1/2 c. (7 oz.) all-purpose flour
1/2 c. (2 1/2 oz.) whole wheat flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
2 T. milk

1 additional egg, beaten, to brush on pastry

Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Filling
1/2 c. (3 3/4 oz.) brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
4 t. flour

Make the dough:
Whisk together the flours, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers or a pastry blender  until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until the dough comes together.

Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 3″ x 5″ rectangle. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour or up to two days.

Make the filling:
Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.

Assemble the tarts:
Take out the dough and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Roll out one half on a lightly floured surface, into a rough rectangle approximately 10″ x 13″. Trim to an even 9″ x 12″ (set the trimmings aside*). Cut the dough into smaller rectangles, either 3 x 3 or 4 x 4 (I went smaller and did 4 x 4 for a total of 16 tarts). Place the rectangles on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the second half; set aside.

Brush beaten egg over the prepared dough rectangles that are on the baking sheet. Place one to two teaspoons of filling into the center of each rectangle, leaving a bare perimeter on all sides. Top with the remaining rectangles, pressing firmly around the edges to seal. Using a small fork, press the tines around the edges. Prick the tops with the fork for steam to escape.

Refrigerate the pastries for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat your oven to 350.

Bake tarts for 20-25 minutes or till light golden. Cool, in pan, on a wire rack.

If desired, spread the tops with a thin layer of royal icing.

* I LOVED this tip – while the pastries are chilling, place your dough scraps on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 13-15 minutes or till golden brown. These disappeared the minute they were cool enough to eat.



  1. meri on September 10, 2012 at 8:05 am

    seriously! you are killing me!!! YUM

  2. Jennifer Cullen on September 10, 2012 at 8:41 am

    These are too pretty to eat. Though I would if I had too!

  3. Jamie Gehman on September 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I LOVE THESE! Besides the BSC Pop•Tarts, I also have a giant weakness for Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. Dare ya to make those!

  4. sherisilver on September 10, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Thanks Meredith and Jennifer – it’s a rough life over here!
    And Jamie, if I do a Little Debbie DIY it will be the Oatmeal “Creme” Pie for sure…

  5. Christa the BabbyMama on September 10, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Oh my. I’ve been meaning to do this forever. I love the upscale version of Pop Tarts (don’t like the standard sort bc there is hardly anything in ’em) but we’re on a mega budget right now so I think this is on the menu.

    • sherisilver on September 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      There’s an upscale version? Details, please! 😉

  6. Drew on September 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    This is the same recipe I used! I love that it’s a recipe from Smitten Kitchen that she adapted from King Arthur Flour that they adapted from Joanne Chang who recreated it from her memories of Pop-Tarts (recipe is in her book “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe” [side-note: her recipe for Banana Chocolate-Chip Bread is easily the best reason to buy bananas]). I remember thinking the process was a bit onerous to try again, but then again I may have been distracted by my adorable 4-month-old. If I were to make them again, and your beautiful example is encouraging, I would try what you suggested with the whole wheat flour and I’d add more brown sugar. Melanie made me fill some of the tarts with Nutella instead and she remembers those as being the best. She’s a little koo-koo, though.

    • sherisilver on September 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      I know – quite a history to that little recipe! And Nutella? How are we even friends???

  7. phi on September 12, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    These are the cutest poptarts I’ve ever seen. . .

    • sherisilver on September 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Thank you! By the way, your blog – and photography – are stunning!

  8. ally on September 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    these are positively precious & so much better than any store bought variety – amazing job!

    • sherisilver on September 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Thank you SO much! 🙂

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