With yesterday being a holiday and Firstborn out of preschool for the day, I knew some sort of project would be in order during Secondborn's nap time. I decided that we should bake homemade poptarts.
Firstborn was ecstatic as I'd not bought the Kellogg's brand in some time. In fact, I'd not bought any in some time in efforts to really watch what I was feeding my kids. Now, I'm not the "food police" and I don't pretend to be. I believe in most things in moderation. We do grab the occasional fast food grub every few weeks or so. We even keep candy in the house, in small portions. Right now we're blessed with a store of Russian type candies thanks to my sweet sister-in-law. The next time I see her I'll have to ask the names of all the different types since I have no idea how to read the labels. But, I digress. What I am trying to say is I do try to be conscientious of all the additives in convenience foods.
I let Firstborn pick out all the fillings we'd use in our double batch of poptarts. He chose Nutella, Monkey Butter, strawberry-banana freezer jam, and blueberry butter. Poptarts, what a great way to use up some of those extra jars of homemade jams!
We set to work by buzzing two cups of all purpose flour, one teaspoon of salt, one tablespoon of sugar, and two sticks (one cup) of butter cut into pieces in the food processor. If not using a food processor you could work the butter in by hand till your dough is pulling together nicely.
Once it's sort of pasty add two tablespoons of milk and one egg that have been mixed together. This is going to get really wet. I ended up adding more flour. Once you're satisfied with your pastry dough turn it onto a well floured surface, divide into half, and roll flat one portion into a rectangle, roughly 9x13 in shape and about 1/8in thick.
After the dough has been rolled out cut nine rectangles, 3x4 in shape and brush an additional beaten egg onto the entire surface of the dough. Think of this as your binder.
Next comes the filling. Place one heaping tablespoon in the center of each rectangle and smooth outward but not all the way to the edges. For some reason I was really excited about this part. Firstborn was as well. And, between our excitement it seems we may have administered more than the heaping tablespoon the directions required. Ooppsy.
A crucial step to making poptarts is tasting your work as you go. I discovered this the hard way once I realized we weren't going to have enough dough to cover all the poptarts we'd jammed. Note to self, do not leave Firstborn in charge of the tops of poptart dough next time.
Once you've jammed your rectangles, roll out the remaining dough into a 9x13 rectangle. Cut out nine 3x4 rectangles. Place the tops onto the jammed rectangles and press the edges together. Using the tines of a fork crease the edges together all the way around. You will also want to prick the tops of the poptarts to allow for steam to escape and puff up nicely.
Place the poptarts on a lined cookie sheet. Here's a tip my grandmother taught me. Save the empty butter wrappers and place in a baggie to keep in the freezer. When you need to grease something pull a wrapper out and use that.
And, since you will have two empty wrappers from this project why not go ahead and use those to oil your cookie sheet or aluminum foil. Normally I'd use parchment paper, but I was out.
After you've placed your poptarts onto the cookie sheet, tuck them into the fridge for a thirty minute chill while your oven is preheating to 350 degrees. This is also a great time to clean up.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes till golden brown.
We found our recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Check out her perfect poptarts and suggestions for fillings and other variations.
While our poptarts were far from perfect, in appearance, nothing could beat the taste, nor the time spent with my little chefs. Plural? Yes, Secondborn has an uncanny ability to always wake prematurely when there's a project she's not been included in. There were many hands and much love that went into these pastries, not only filling my belly, but my being as well.