Homemade Poptarts

There has been a recent movement in the food blogging world that calls for people to make certain staple foods at home, instead of buying a mass-manufactured version.  I am certainly a proponent of this idea, as I think homemade versions are almost always better than their store-bought counterparts.

When you make these foods at home, you know exactly what goes into them; no unwanted preservatives, dyes or other chemicals that you can’t pronounce.  Perhaps this is what makes the “homemade” touch so delicious.  Or maybe we can taste the love and goodness being transferred into these goodies as our family members or friends painstakingly take the time to make something homemade instead of running to the store real quick.

Whatever the secret ingredient is, homemade just seems better to me.  Even in the poptart realm.  And believe me, I’ve eaten a lot of poptarts in my day.  Including the great sounding, but rarely living up to the real thing flavors like hot fudge sundae or chocolate chip cookie dough.

I’d still take one of these homemade ones any day.  Homemade poptarts are remarkably easy to make, and the many different filling ideas out there make them even better.  I like to use up whatever I have on hand, which in this case, was a little container of cinnamon and sugar from a previous recipe.

Cinnamon sugar poptarts anyone?  I also used nutella as a filling for the chocolate dough-ed poptart.  Now, you may be wondering why my poptarts are so heterogeneous.  Well…this is because I kind of cheated.  Whenever I make a pie or tart and wind up with extra dough, I wrap it up, pop it in the freezer, then thaw it out later to make poptarts.  Obviously, I had a few different kinds of leftover dough in the mix, so I didn’t actually use the dough recipe below.  Whether you make these with leftover dough or fresh, I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the result.  I mean, come on, you just made your very own poptarts!

Homemade Poptarts

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes about 8-10 poptarts

For the dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 Tbsp milk

For the filling*:

½ cup brown sugar
1 -1 ½  tsp cinnamon, to taste
4 tsp all-purpose flour

cinnamon chips (optional)

4-6 Tbsp nutella
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured surface if necessary.

Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins or up to 2 days.

Next, make the filling.  *These measurements make enough to fill about 9 tarts.  If you want some poptarts with nutella filling, I’d recommend halving this recipe.  In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, flour and cinnamon chips is using.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 20 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″.  Repeat with the second piece of dough.  Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack and enjoy warm or at room temperature.


Nutella Cheesecake Pumpkin Muffins

It’s been kind of hot in MA the last few days.  And I am not a summer person.  Especially not in an apartment without air conditioning.

The only up side is I get to see a lot of this.

Izzy is lying down on her side and belly more often to cool off.  There’s nothing to make me forget that my bare legs are sticking together than a little black bunny flopping over and spreading out on her little paws.

Luckily, or not so luckily, the heat streak is ending today.  I’m happy about it.  As cute as Izzy is, I’d rather not start sweating while kneading bagel dough or checking on roasted potatoes.

Or making muffins.  I loooooove muffins.  I love them even more when they have a secret filling.

And if that secret filling involves nutella, I’ll eat so many I won’t care about that huge blister on my big toe I got from walking too far in flip flops.  Damn hot weather shoes.

But muffins make it all better.  I know it’s not pumpkin season, but these guys are delicious any time of year.

Nutella Cheesecake Filled Pumpkin Muffins

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Makes about 20 muffins

For the muffins:

4 large eggs

1-½ cup sugar

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree

1-½ cup vegetable oil

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

For the cheesecake filling:

8 oz cream cheese, softened

½ cup Nutella

1 large egg

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add in sugar, pumpkin and oil and beat thoroughly. Add in remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth.

In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, Nutella and egg until smooth.

Grease a 12 cup muffin tin, or place lines in the cups. Place about 2 tablespoons of pumpkin batter into each liner, then 1 tablespoon of Nutella batter, then top with 2 more tablespoons of pumpkin batter. Bake for 18-22 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Remove from muffin tin and enjoy!


Nutella Swirled Donuts

Is it doughnuts or donuts?  Spellcheck doesn’t have a problem with either of them, so I assume they’re both correct.  Logically, doughnuts would be the ones made with yeast.

I guess I like donuts more since they are made from a batter, and therefore bake faster and you don’t have to worry about frying them.  I am both terrified and repulsed by the thought of deep frying things.  Soooo not my thing.  I can’t even remember the last time I ate something that had been boiled in hot grease.

Also, if you bake donuts, you can add awesome things to the batter like nutella.  Who doesn’t like nutella?  It’s like heaven in a jar, or on a spoon, or in a donut.

The cakey texture of this donut pairs wonderfully with the smooth, creamy threads of nutella sewn throughout the batter.  Perfect for Sunday brunch or a quick weekday breakfast, or a sweet afternoon snack.  You can see where I’m going with this.

Nutella Swirled Donuts

Adapted from Gingerbread Bagels

Makes 12 donuts

2 cups cake flour (or all-purpose)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsps unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 Tbsp nutella

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and grease donut pan with cooking spray.

Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt into a large bowl.

Add in the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Gently mix and fold everything together. Be careful not to over mix the batter.

Using a large spoon, scoop batter into prepared pan, filling the molds 2/3 full.

Spoon ½ tablespoon of nutella into the batter of each mold and swirl with a knife.

Bake for 9 minutes, or until donuts are light brown and spring back when touched.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

 


Nutella Marshmallow Puffs

I probably jumped the gun in announcing the arrival of Izzy’s football apparel.  The minute I had the package in my hands, I was tearing it open and in her pen coaxing her over to inspect her new outfit.  She was surprisingly mellow and accommodating for an animal unaccustomed to regular clothing wear.

You’re probably wondering where all the pictures are.  Hey man, patience is a virtue.  While the shirt is amazingly adorable on her, I need to bust out my dusty sewing kit and do a few alterations.  Dog clothing is measure by length of back, and while Izzy and a Chihuahua might have the same size back…rabbit anatomy is a little different from a dog’s.

While dogs have more proportional front and hind legs to support their loping stride, rabbits don’t.  They hop, so they have little T-Rex like front legs compared to their massive kicking back legs.  We forgot about that.  Her tiny arms kinda got lost in the sleeves and ended up coming out all sorts of strange places, or getting stuck inside the shirt.  So I’m going to sew the sleeves up and make the shirt more or less sleeveless.  6th grade Home Ec don’t fail me now.

Moving on to the foods.  I bought a package of puff pastry on a whim one day, and had no idea what to do with it until I saw this recipe.  Apparently you can make it from scratch, but I am so not ready to handle that much butter at once.  Maybe some day.

Until then, I’ll keep buying it when I notice it’s on sale and wait for recipe inspiration like this.

Nutella Marshmallow Puffs

Adapted from Picky Palate

Makes 16 puffs

1 package puff pastry, 2 pastry sheets thawed

1 cup Nutella

1 cup mini marshmallows

1 egg white whisked with 1 tablespoon water

turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut each square of pastry into 4 equal size pieces, then halve each piece diagonally.  You should end up with 16 triangle shaped pieces.  Spread a couple tablespoons of Nutella spread onto the center of each pastry leaving 1/2 inch border around edges.  Top each with about 6 or 7 mini marshmallows and fold over to form a littler triangle.  Crimp edges firmly with the tines of a fork.  Brush with egg white wash then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 22-25 minutes or until pastry just turns golden.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.


Strawberry Nutella Muffins

I know what you must be thinking.  Wow, Anna, way to post about utilizing seasonal fruits and veggies, and then directly afterward post something in the middle of fall with strawberries in it.  Ok, maybe you aren’t thinking that because you’re too busy looking at the pictures, and that’s ok too.

 

I do love using seasonal ingredients, but as you’ll see over the next few weeks, sometimes switching things up a bit makes life a little more enjoyable.  I love my fall flavors, but after 8 sweet potato recipes, my palate needs a break.

 

During the summer months when berries abound, I make sure to freeze a few cups of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and cherries so that if I need a taste of something different during the cold, dark winter months, that option is available.  You can always buy frozen fruit in the supermarket too, but I find buying produce while it’s in season is cheaper.

 

These muffins were just the break I needed from a rainy fall week.  They are moist and tender, with nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread…aka heaven in a jar) and strawberries swirled throughout the batter.  They did get a little too moist after a few days, so I’d recommend keeping them in the fridge or freezer half the batch and taking them out when as desired.

Strawberry Nutella Muffins

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Makes 9 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped fresh or thawed strawberries
1/3 cup Nutella (rough estimate, I just spooned it out of the jar w/o measuring)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease well. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.

3. In a small bowl, combine canola oil, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla together. Use a fork or whisk and mix until well combined.

5. Incorporate the wet ingredients into flour mixture. Add slowly and gently stir, you don’t want to over mix. The batter will be thick. Carefully fold in the strawberries.

6. Fill each muffin cup half way with batter. Next, add a small spoonful of Nutella to each muffin cup. Cover the Nutella filling with the remaining batter.

7. Bake muffins for 17-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a cooling rack.