Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Pop Tarts
Warm flakey crust, a spicy sweet filling, and a sugary glazed topping, and suddenly you're 10 years old again. But this time, it's gluten free.
I've eaten my fair share of pop tarts. As a kid, they were my go-to breakfast. Cherry, strawberry, chocolate, and my very favorite, brown sugar and cinnamon; they're the best. I remember trying to beat my brother and sister into the pantry each morning, and then fighting when there was only one left. Usually my older sister won the battle. She, to this day, has very powerful negotiations skills. Funny, she, being a health nut, would never eat a pop tart now, nor would her kids. Well, they would, but only at Grandma's house. What happens at Grandma's house stays at Grandma's house.
Pop tarts are a pantry foods, a.k.a. a junk food. Full of chemicals, preservatives, GMOs, and gluten, they're hardly considered a nutritious breakfast for children. But kids love them, demand them. I know from experience, as I distract my boys every time we pass them in the grocery isle.
I can't deny my kids (or myself) something I enjoyed when I was young, but I can control the ingredients. Homemade is always best. Sure, the shelf life may not be as long, but is that really a bad thing?
This pop tart is homemade, gluten free, and amazing. So much better than the packaged version. It's 100% a sweet treat, no sacrificing there, but free of unnecessary junk. I chose brown sugar and cinnamon this round, because it's my boy's favorite as well, but feel free to fill the pastry with raspberry or strawberry jam. The dough is buttery and flakey, and the frosted glazed top is the perfect finish.
The recipe is time consuming, I'm not going to lie, but also fun. It's the perfect Sunday craft project. I use King Arthur Gluten Free flour, with a touch of xanthan gum to bind it together. The pastry dough comes out flakey, buttery, and beautifully golden brown. One taste and you'll never settle for a store bought pop tart again. It's possible my sister would even approve...but I shouldn't go too far.
If you don't have sensitivities to gluten, feel free to use standard all-purpose flour and leave out the xanthan gum.
Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Pop Tarts
* Makes 9 Pop Tarts
Gluten Free Pastry Dough
- 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Gluten Free all purpose flour (plus extra for rolling the dough)
- 1 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 7 tablespoons ice water
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, xanthan gum, sea salt, and sugar.
- Add the cubed butter and, with a pastry blender or your fingertips, blend until the mixture begins to resemble small peas.
- Mix the apple cider vinegar with the ice water. Drizzle a few tablespoons over the flour and butter mixture and blend with a fork. Add more water, one tablespoon at a time, till the dough begins to come together. Only add as much water as needed. Once the dough becomes moist and clumps together, it's hydrated enough.
- Divide the dough in half and flatten into disks. Wrap separately in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
- Remove the dough 15 minutes before you're ready to use so it will roll out easily.
Note: The clumps of butter give the dough its flakey texture. You want to handle the dough as little as possible to keep the butter from melting. Keep the dough chilled when you’re not working.
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon King Arthur Gluten Free all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream for pastry dough wash
- In a small bowl, mix first three ingredients together. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, pour cream and grab a pastry brush. Set aside.
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, mix together the powered sugar, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. If glaze is too thick, add a tad more water. If glaze is too thin, add a tad more powdered sugar. Set aside.
Assembling the Pop Tarts
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll out one disk of dough on a well floured work surface. If dough feels sticky, sprinkle some more flour over the top while rolling. Keep the other disk of dough chilled while you work. Roll the dough into a rectangle shape, roughly 9x12 and 1/8” thick. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, trim the rough edges with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife.
- Cut the dough into thirds and each third into thirds again, making 9 rectangles, each about 3×4 inches. Using a ruler will help keep the lines straight and sizes of rectangles accurate. These will be the bottoms of the pop tarts.
- Arrange the 9 rectangles on a lined baking sheet, leaving about 1/2” between each. Chill the prepared sheet in the fridge.
- Take the second disk of dough and repeat steps 1 through 4. These will be the tops of the pop tarts.
- Remove the bottom layer of the pop tarts from the fridge. Using a pastry brush, wash the surface of rectangles with heavy cream. Top each rectangle with a heaping spoonful of cinnamon and brown sugar filling, leaving a 1/4” border on all sides. Set aside.
- Remove the top layer of your pop tarts from the fridge. Using a pastry brush, wash the surface of rectangles with heavy cream, then place each rectangle on top of the filling-topped rectangles with the wash side down. Press firmly around all sides of the dough to seal.
- Using a toothpick, or anything with a sharp edge, poke holes in the tops of each filled pop tart to allow the steam to escape. With a fork, crimp the edges of each pastry to prevent the dough from separating while baking.
- Chill the filled pop tarts for 20 minutes. This creates sharp edges on the pastry and lets the butter in dough firm up before baking.
- Just before baking, brush the tops with cream wash. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until they’re golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Allow the pop tarts to cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- Using a spoon or knife, top each cooled pop tart with a generous layer of glaze. The glaze will set within an hour. Pop tarts can be stored in an air-tight container for 3 days or chilled for one week. To reheat, bake at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes or toast in the toaster.